Monday, August 17, 2009
Music and neuroscience: the pentatonic scale
What is it about the pentatonic scale that is so embedded in our brains that we can sing it without even knowing what we're doing? Bobby McFerrin gave this amazing demonstration at the World Science Festival this year. He has the entire audience singing along, following his body movements and correctly matching pitches, hearing only a few of them sung in advance.
If I had three lifetimes, I think I'd go back to school and study this. And composition. And conducting. And after that I'd know one tiny little corner of the world of music.
When most people think of "improv" they tend to think of jazz improvisation. Here is a wild new take on the idea. I've never heard anything quite like it.