Sunday, April 11, 2010

Music Tip #34 Pentatonic Scales

My sister sent me this link and said she had never heard of the pentatonic scale.
I emailed her back:I use the pentatonic scale at school all the time. Penta means 5 notes. You can use 5 white notes, too. A "C" pentatonic scale has no "frys or burgers" in it (CDE GA). The G pentatonic scale has no "corn flakes" (GAB DE) and the F pentatonic scale has no "bacon and eggs" (FGA CD). The students actually take those bars off the xylophone or metallophone and visually you see groups of 2 notes together and 3 notes together.

All notes in the pentatonic scale sound good together, so it's a great scale to have children play and improvise on. They think it sounds like Chinese music, oops, did that sound racist? Perhaps I should say Asian.

Bobby McFerrin does this cool thing with the pentatonic scale at the World Science Festival 2009.

So if you want to have fun some day, sit down to the piano or keyboard with your child and improvise on the black keys. Let your child play you a "song", then you play one back. Create funny titles for your songs and even make up words. Use snappy rhythms and yes, even play "Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater" (everyone knows that one on the black keys, don't they?)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this posting! Took me a second to figure out what you meant by fries and burgers etc. but once I did I LOVE it...and so will my students. Thanks for the unique creativity!




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