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Bobby McFerrin Goes Pentatonic

Bobby McFerrin is one of my all time favorite musicians. He is, in point of fact, brilliant, inventive, smart, dedicated, and just so doggone fun to listen to. In this short vid he demonstrates the universality of the pentatonic scale. And shares that in his experience audiences around the world have the built-in ability to grock it from the get go. [For those who don’t know the word grock please read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. It is a classic and your education is not complete until you have added it to your I’ve Read This list!]

To help you visualize the structure of the scale you can take a look at this graphic of a piano keyboard.

PianoBlackKeys copy

If you played only the black keys you would hear a pentatonic scale. One of the cool things about this scale is that there are no dissonant combinations, so you can play around using just these notes and it will all “go together” quite nicely.

Most of my Runt Farm characters make up their own tunes from time to time, and it’s possible some of those tunes are being sung in the Pentatonic scale, or even the Dorian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. Why not?

What songs have you been singing today? Whether just for fun, a ditty to remember your shopping list or a grand aria, make music of your own this New Year. Sing your own song! And if you sing it wearing a hat, so much the better.

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