The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81532   Message #1495508
Posted By: Don Firth
29-May-05 - 12:23 PM
Thread Name: harmony vs. melody
Subject: RE: harmony vs. melody
Azizi, it's a fairly simple thing that seems to require a complex explanation (as simple things often do). The standard scales heard in Western music (i.e., music from the European tradition, which includes classical music) consist of seven notes, say C, D, E, F, G, A, B, the notes in the key of C (white keys on the piano). But although there are scientific and aesthetic reasons that this system is pretty much standard, there are other ways of constructing scales. One of these ways is to leave a couple of notes out, so that you only play (or sing) five of them. This would be a "pentatonic" scale, or a scale made up of five notes rather than seven. If you were to play only the black keys on a piano keyboard, that would be a pentatonic scale.

There are lots of songs, mostly folk songs and earlier religious songs, that use pentatonic scales. An example of a Scottish song in a pentatonic scale is Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon. Scroll down and "Click to Play" to hear what it sounds like.

I've probably made it about as clear as mud, but I hope this helps.

Don Firth