Music History & Facts

Interesting facts about music, music history, etc.

The pentatonic scale is a five note scale, using intervals I, II, III, V and VI. There are several rumors on the origin of the scale. The one I am attached to is the scale was found several centuries ago in Asia from the black notes on the piano.

The scale is used by rock and blues musicians to play lead guitar. One famous lead guitarist that uses this scale is Eric Clapton. Other instruments, such as the Flute, also play the scale to an accompaniment.
What is unique about this scale is the notes in the scale can be played with the chords of the same major key or relative minor key. This inspires the student to be creative in choosing the notes in the scale to play with an accompanist. Students actually go into a trance playing the pentatonic scale while I am playing the chords in the same key.

I also found that the song, “Amazing Graze”, only uses the notes in pentatonic scale for the melody. Students that are familiar with the song are giving an assignment to figure what notes in the scale are used to play the melody. This is great ear training for the student.

Do you use the pentatonic scale, or know something of it’s history? Let me know your thoughts on this amazing scale.

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Happy New Year!

Did you know that the usual melody for that “Auld Lang Syne” song you may have sung a few nights back was not the original melody for the song?

If you’d like to hear the song as originally intended by Robert Burns over 200 years ago, click here to open a new window–go to the bottom of the page to the last song and listen to a sample of Auld Lang Syne using the original melody, on one of the Burns CDs from Linn Records (Their series contains the first and only recording of all 323 of Burns’s songs, performed by over 100 of the best contemporary musicians in Scotland.)

Burns collected the song, which was already old at the time, and added some of his own words to it, to make it the song we know now. The melody we’re used to singing was apparently selected by  [···]

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