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Help: Pentatonic Tunes

Related thread:
pentatonic songs (49)


GUEST,guest 12 Feb 02 - 10:51 PM
Uncle Jaque 12 Feb 02 - 11:12 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM
Uncle Jaque 12 Feb 02 - 11:30 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Feb 02 - 11:47 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 02 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,Bardford 12 Feb 02 - 11:58 PM
Steve Parkes 13 Feb 02 - 03:34 AM
Wilfried Schaum 13 Feb 02 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Pied piper 13 Feb 02 - 07:18 AM
Grab 13 Feb 02 - 07:46 AM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 02 - 08:02 AM
Amy 13 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM
Snuffy 13 Feb 02 - 08:11 AM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 02 - 08:18 AM
Murray MacLeod 13 Feb 02 - 08:41 AM
Amy 13 Feb 02 - 09:10 AM
Murray MacLeod 13 Feb 02 - 09:27 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 09:36 AM
Deckman 13 Feb 02 - 09:43 AM
Murray MacLeod 13 Feb 02 - 09:58 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,SlickerBill 13 Feb 02 - 12:57 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Feb 02 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 04:52 PM
Mark Cohen 13 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 05:36 PM
Burke 13 Feb 02 - 05:49 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM
John in Brisbane 13 Feb 02 - 06:26 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Feb 02 - 08:46 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Feb 02 - 09:29 PM
Uncle Jaque 13 Feb 02 - 09:32 PM
ketzlma 30 Mar 03 - 09:41 PM
toadfrog 30 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM
Nigel Parsons 31 Mar 03 - 03:30 AM
greg stephens 31 Mar 03 - 08:21 AM
Callie 31 Mar 03 - 08:22 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 03 - 09:24 AM
greg stephens 31 Mar 03 - 09:34 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 Mar 03 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Mar 03 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 31 Mar 03 - 10:56 AM
greg stephens 31 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM
Burke 31 Mar 03 - 05:07 PM
toadfrog 31 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM
Callie 31 Mar 03 - 11:16 PM
Burke 01 Apr 03 - 07:44 PM
Burke 01 Apr 03 - 08:00 PM
toadfrog 01 Apr 03 - 11:16 PM
greg stephens 02 Apr 03 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Apr 03 - 09:19 AM
greg stephens 02 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM
Burke 02 Apr 03 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,GUEST - |binary_sunset| 16 Apr 03 - 02:44 AM
toadfrog 18 Apr 03 - 01:00 AM
Burke 21 Apr 03 - 10:03 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 22 Apr 03 - 01:15 AM
toadfrog 24 Apr 03 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Guest, Pauline Lerner 29 Mar 15 - 09:47 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 15 - 06:31 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Mar 15 - 06:47 PM
Marje 31 Mar 15 - 10:51 AM
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Subject: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 10:51 PM

Can anyone help me with a list of tunes written in the Pentatonic scale? Well-known ones would be most helpful. Thanks in advance!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:12 PM

I heard an interesting show on PBS once - i think it was "Schickelie's Mix", where he expounded on the subject of the pentatonic scale, and mentioned a few songs that were written for it. I can't remember now, but think that "Amazing Grace" was one of them, much to my surprise.

Perhaps you can go to the NPBN Website (National Public Broadcasting) and see if they have an archive site for Peter Schickelie (I'm not at all sure about the spelling). He's a really entertaining, as well as educational Musician.

Our Daughter has two Indian "Love-flutes", one of which we made and one she bought from a Maine Artisan, both of which are five-holers, and I assume pentatonic. She makes some lovely, haunting music on them, and can imitate many wild bird calls, including the loon, and incorporate them into her music. I'm not all that familiar with the scale, but would like to learn more about it and perhaps try composing in it.

Thanks for asking, and I'll be keeping track of this thread for a while in hopes of learning with you. We have quite a few very knowledgeable Musicians in here and I have little doubt but that we will soon be amply edified!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM

Several Scots ones in ABC notation on Jack Campin's website.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:30 PM

Oh, that's right; a lot of traditional & ancient Celtic music is pentatonic, now that you mention it.

Could we have a link to that site you mention? it looks interesting indeed, and thanks for the lead!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:47 PM

You can start off with Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:56 PM

Jack Campin's website See Modes file for pentatonics.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 11:58 PM

Here's Jack Campin's site

Cheers, Bardford


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 03:34 AM

If you're old enough to remeber, "Champion The Wonder Horse" is pentatonic (the theme song, not the horse!), all except for one naughty note in the chorus.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 03:43 AM

Auld Lang Syne

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,Pied piper
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 07:18 AM

Hi GUEST guest Lots of tunes for Highland pipes are pentatonic,in fact the scale of the pipes seens to be designed to play three different five note scales and the assosiated modes. If you enter "pipe tunes" in your search engine you should bump into plenty.

PS there is a good link to the hole topic of bagpipe modes but I don't know how to attach it, HELP PLEASE.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Grab
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 07:46 AM

The main riff in "Boom Boom" by John Lee Hooker.

The "Layla" riff is almost pure pentatonic (IIRC there's one note that isn't).

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:02 AM

A lot of Negro spirituals are pentatonic.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Amy
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM

There are hundreds of folksongs that are pentatonic. A pentatonic scale having 5 notes can come in many varieties.... It can be based on do: do re mi so la It can have the same notes but be extended by having a "so or la" below do, or a high "do", an octave above. ie: Great Big House in New Orleans ie: (extended Do pentatonic) Cumberland Gap, Little Black Bull, The Devil's Questions...

Then you can also have pentatonic scales ending (and or starting on): re: (has the same do re mi so la but "re" is the tonic) ie. "Shady Grove" is "re pentatonic" (if it had a "fa or ti" it would be in the Dorian mode)

So pentatonic: same as above (with fa or ti it would become Mixolydian) ie. "The Darby Ram"

La pentatonic: same as above (with fa or ti it would become Minor) ie. The Bird's Courting Song (Leatherwinged Bat)

Pentatonic scales based on "fa and mi" are much more rare in American folk music.

I collect folksongs according to these particular scales and use them as the basis for teaching in my music classroom (using the Kodaly approach). There are many books that sort folksongs and give a quick reference for pentatonic songs. If you are interested in songs that can be used for children that are pentatonic, let me know, and I can direct you to some good books.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:11 AM

Bugle calls are pentatonic.

And 'Da-Doo-Ron-Ron' gets by with only 3 notes (G, A & B if you're in the key of G)

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:18 AM

Amy, I think your post on modes is the most concise and clear I have ever seen. Perhaps someone can dig up the old threads on modes and make a clicky in one of them, to her post here. VERY good.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:41 AM

Amy, are you sure Shady Grove is "re pentatonic?" I am only familiar with Doc Watson's version and my ears hear it as having la as the tonic. The tune as I think I know it goes

la, la, la,-,re, ti, <so,-, la, la, do, re, mi.-
so, so, mi, do, re, ti, so,-, la, ti. re, ti, la.-
This version has six notes ....Are we thinking of the same song?

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Amy
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:10 AM

Murray, In reply to your thread concerning Shady Grove. The version I was refering to was sung by Jean Ritchie. It is in the key of G but really it is in "d" since there are no "c's" to be sharped.

r r r r r m r d Cheeks as red as a bloomin' rose

r r r m s l Eyes of the deepest brown,

l d' d' l l s m r d You are the darlin' of my heart,

r m m s m r Stay till the sun goes down.

r r r m r r d Shady Grove, my little love,

r r m s l Shady Grove, I know.

d' d' l s m r d Shady Grove, my little love,

r m m s m r Bound for the Shady Grove.

(D' is for high do)


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:27 AM

Amy, I will have to dig out my old Doc Watson tape and a listen to it again. The version you give as sung by Jean Ritchie certainly sounds the real thing, and my memory of what Doc does could well be faulty. I seem to hear him singing

r r r f s l Eyes of the deepest brown

But, as I say, my memory could be playing tricks.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:36 AM

Normal pentatonics are derived from normal 'Greek' modes by dropping notes. There are 5 of them, pi 1, pi 2, pi 3, pi 4, and pi 5. (Jack Campin doesn't use this Bronson notation.) The positions of the gaps in the scales are shown in the file on Modes at www.erols.com/olsonw.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:43 AM

A good way to remember the Pentonic scale is to just play the black keys on a piano. I remember that the movie song sung by Jane Russell was Pentonic: East is East and West is West, and the wrong one I have chose .... BUTTON and BOWS. Weird, eh? Bob


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:58 AM

Bob, I have to disagree. The last line of Buttons and Bows goes

s d l d t d r d. "Rings and things and buttons and bows"

In other words if you sing the tune in the key of C there is a B note in "Buttons" in the above line, which precludes it from being pentatonic.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 10:16 AM

The black keys on the piano only give the pi 1 pentatonic scale (which is, however, the most common normal pentatonic mode).


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM

The PRI radio program someone else referred to above is "Gin and Pentatonic", from Schickele Mix.

http://www.schickelemix.org/s.acgi$list_program?117


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,SlickerBill
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 12:57 PM

This is interesting stuff; didn't realize folk music used the pentatonic scale to this extent.

I used the pentatonic scale to teach myself how to play blues. I didn't realize it at the time, but I basically learned the pentatonic scales up and down the neck and used that to begin to improvise. It's basicallythe "blues box". It gets pretty limiting after awhile, but that provides a basis for things, and then you go on to learn other scales; just add on notes til you can do what you want. I use it to teach improvisation because it's kind of basic and easy to learn, like tetris on the neck. Great thread. SB


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 03:46 PM

Amy, looking at Shady Grove again, I am wondering why you would have re as the tonic note. Any time I hear a melody which is minor in feel I automatically think of the tonic note being la.

In this case the tune would become:

l l l l l t l s, Cheeks as red as a bloomin' rose

l l l t r m Eyes of the deepest brown,

m s s m m r t l s, You are the darlin' of my heart,

l t t r t l Stay till the sun goes down.

There may well be a very good formal musical reason why you wouldn't notate it thus.

I acquired at a very early age the ability to convert any tune into tonic sol-fa instantaneously, but probably didn't do enough formal studying. I used to amuse myself by taking various tunes and singing them in tonic sol-fa, using each note of the scale as the tonic note in turn.

Well, there wasn't any television where I grew up ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 04:52 PM

In the file COMBCODE.TXT at www.errols.com/olsonw you can find sources of normal pentatonic tunes as follows:

pi 1 / mode# = 330, 100 tunes
pi 2 / mode# = 338, 13 tunes
pi 3 / mode# = 594, 35 tunes
pi 4 / mode# = 596, 33 tunes
pi 5 / mode# = 660, 5 tunes

There are also abnormal 5 note tunes. The program there can find the number of notes and scale of any of the 6500+ tunes coded in the file.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM

I heard just a bit of that particular Schickele Mix program. First Jean Ritchie doing a traditional Appalachian ballad, then a Hawaiian chant. Only on Schickele's show! By the way, I always remember the common pentatonic scale (the "black key" scale, I now know it's called pi 1) by singing the first five notes of the old classic "Louise": "Ev'ry little breeze [seems to whisper Louise]", or of the Irving Berlin song "Always": "I'll be loving you [always]".

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 05:36 PM

Sorry, I was wrong about piano black keys being pi 1 pentatonic mode. Mode depends on which key is the basis for the scale.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 05:49 PM

All those "pi" modes can be played on the black keys of the piano. You just start in a different spot.

Pi1 begin on 1st of the 3 black keys together
Pi2 begin on 1st of the 2 black keys together
Pi3 begin on 2nd of 3 black keys
Pi4 begin on 2nd of 2 black keys
Pi5 begin on 3rd of 3 black keys


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM

Tunes on piano black keys only

Keynote = C#/Db, mode = pi 2
Keynote = D#/Eb, mode = pi 4
Keynote = F#/Gb, mode = pi 1
Keynote = G#/Ab, mode = pi 3
Keynote = A#/Bb, mode = pi 5


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 06:26 PM

Here's a list to keep you going which I had posted to a larger thread a couple of years ago.

PENTATONIC SONG BOOK (VOLUME 1)
Brian Brocklehurst

Birds' courting song
Cindy
Git along, little dogies
Hoosen Johnny
Mister Frog's wedding
Night herding song
Old brass wagon
Old Dan Tucker
Old lady sittin' in the dining room
Old Texas
On a long summer day
Poor wayfaring stranger
Sailing at high tide
Sourwood Mountain
The Lone star trail
The mocking bird song
The swapping song
Turn the glasses over
By the clear running fountain
(A la claire fontaine)
Canaday-i-o
Keep the ball a-rolling
(En roulant ma boule)
Land of the silver birch
The Derby ram
With care I tend my rosebush
(A ma main droit j'ai un rosier)
The shepherdess
(Il etait un bergere)
My bonny cuckoo
Deep river
De gospel train
Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel? Ezekiel saw de wheel
Go to sleepy
I got a robe
I know de Lord's laid his hands on me
Little David
Liza Jane
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
One more river
Steal away
Swing low, sweet chariot
Who's dat yonder?
Auld lang syne
Glenlogie
Leezie Lindsay
Row weel, my boatie, row weel
The auld hoose
The border widow's lament
The standard on the braes o' mar
Wha wadna fight for Charlie?
Ye banks and braes
Cap Cod chanty
Johnny come down to Hilo
Leave her Johnny
Tom's gone to Hilo
At evening
Duck dance
Indian game song
Chimes at night
Fengyang drum
Down the course of years
Lotus blossoms
Sore is my heart
Song of the Gurkha boys
Japanese lullaby
Ahrirang
Blue-bells
Round: Derry ding ding dason
Round: Lady, come down and see
VOLUME TWO

Alister MacAlpine's lament
All night, all day
Buck-eyed Jim
Buffalo boy
California
Ducks in the millpond
Every time I feel the spirit
Fiddle-de-de
Go tell it on the mountain
Goodbye, Old Paint
Hanging Johnny
Hullabaloo Balay
I believe this is Jesus
I want to be ready
It rains and it hails
It's me O Lord
Jennie Jenkins
Jim along Josie
John Henry
King Herod and the cock
Love's ritornella
Lullaby
Mary had a baby
Mister Rabbit
Night doth on the river fall
O bury me not on the lone prairie
O by and by
O Willie's gone to Melville Castle
One morning in May
Perry merry dictum dominee
Poor old maid
Sacramento
Skye Boat Song
Soldier, soldier
Some love coffee
The barnyard song
The cherry tree carol
The little pig
The miller
The old gray mare
The penniless wooer
The poor and the rich
The real old mountain dew
The returned sailor
The riddle song
The Sally Buck
The young man who wouldn't hoe corn
There was a jolly miller
There was a May lived in yon glen
There's a little wheel
Way low down
Where O where is old Elijah?
Who killed Cock Robin?
Yonder mountain


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:46 PM

Just on first glance, Leezie Lindsay and Skye Boat Song are not pentatonic, each makes use of six notes. Canadee-I-O, as I know it, isn't pentatonic either, but there may be other versions which are.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:29 PM

HEre are some of the other threads covering Pentatonic Songs, and or what Pentatonic/Modal/Modes

Pentatonic Songs
History of Musical Scale
Modes
Minor Scale
Modes for Mudcatters - A Synthesis Primer
Tech Talk - Modes and Scales
What does Modal Really Mean


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:32 PM

Correct me if im wrong... but I think that one of the instruments I frequently take to reenactments is "Pentatonic"; the Bugle!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: ketzlma
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 09:41 PM

Hello Brian Brocklehurst and all Orff teachers, for whom pentatonic songs are bread. "Shortnin' Bread," despite its ethnic connections is often the first song kids can sing and pick up immediately. The AA' pattern is appealing, they try at home on the black keys and come roaring in playing it the next day!
Many playground chants (ball bouncers, jump rope) as well as Swing Low Sweet Chariot fit the scale, as do spontaneous improvisations.
VERY best of the lot?
Bright Morning Stars are Shining
How Can I Keep From SInging?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: toadfrog
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM

Admitting I'm musically untrained, I ask how useful is it, practically, to look at scales or "modes" on the basis of the white note or place on the clef they begin with? If I am mistaken, I would appreciated being set straight, but it appears to me that Bronson's theory is that is more helpful to start on the assumption that all the scales begin on the same note. That way it is easier to hear the characteristic differences in sound. It is also much easier for untrained people like me, who don't normally think in terms of white keys, to grasp. Thus:
Major key = Ionian scale
With flatted 7th = Mixolydian
With flatted 3d = Dorian
With flatted 6th = Aeolian, or melodic minor
With flatted 2d = Phrygian
With flatted anything further = scales no one ever uses (Locrian and Lydian).

I do not even believe I know any songs in the Phrygian scale. I have picked out Bessie Belle and Mary Grey, over and over, on the fingerboard of my guitar, and it always comes out Aeolian, or Minor. For sure, I may be missing something, but if so, what?

Bronson's pentatonic scales all correspond to one of the above 7-tone scales, without the tones which distinguish it from adjacent scales. Thus Pi 1= Ionian, without the 4th and 7th (and sounds Scottish or Appalachian, or Chinese
Pi 2    = Mixolydian, without the 7th and 3d (and sounds Irish) and so on around.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 03:30 AM

I seem to recall the theme to "Wagon Train" was pentatonic

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 08:21 AM

Toadfrog: the Phrygian mode is rare, but not unknown in the English tradition..though it is incredibly common in Spain, for example. And there are also minor tunes with a variable second(eg Queen of Hearts and the Northern Lass)ie they veer between the Aeloian and Phrygian mode. I recorded an album of NW English tunes once, entitled "The Beggar Boy of the North"...the title track is a Phrygian tune.
    It's worth mentioning, of course, that not all songs end on the keynote of the scale, so assigning of tunes to modes can be very arbitrary. A tune that only consists of white notes on the piano, and ends on an E, would be a case in point. It would be a matter of opinion in some cases whether this was a Phrygian tune ending on its keynote, or a common or garden major tune ending on the third, or indeed an Aolian tune ending on the fifth. You would have to go by the "feel" of the tune to decide, and that is obviously an area where musicians might not agree.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Callie
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 08:22 AM

The instrumental bit in Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster" and the verses of the Beatles' "Don't Bring Me Down" are pentatonic. Oh, and also most of Yoko Ono's "Waking on Thin Ice"


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 09:24 AM

There's an interesting, but rather long, article in Johnson's Musical Museum concerning the song 'Ye banks and braes o'Bonnie Doon'. basically Burns explains the origin of the tune he used ' .....A good many years ago, Mr James Miller, .....expressed an ambition to write a Scots air. Mr Clarke, partly by way of a joke, told him to keep to the black keys of the harpsichord, and preserve some kind of rhythm, and he would infallibly compose a Scots air. Ritson, you know, has the same story of the Black keys.' (Burns alludes to the following passage in Ritson's Historical Essy on Scottish Song, page 102.)....."when I was in Italy it struck me very forcibly that the plain chants which are sung by the friars or priests, bore a great resemblance to some of the oldest of the Scottish melodies ......... About twelve years ago (1782) on trying my Piano-Forte, after tuning, by putting my fingers on the the short keys, avoiding the long ones, it surprised me to hear an agreeable Scottish melody ...... the short keys only, which, in modern instruments, are made of ebony, to distinguish them from the long ones, which are generally made of ivory."
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 09:34 AM

This story, like all stories of the origins of folk tunes, has been disputed. The Stephen Clarke referred to (an Englishman) may well have been joking, and that the "Banks and Braes" tune is in fact only a slight reworking of an earlier(?) English(?) tune "Lost,lost is my quiet".


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 09:42 AM

Jim McLean: surely sticking to the 'black notes' on a harpsichord is the same as sticking to the white notes on a piano, you get the key of 'C' (A minor)

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 09:52 AM

this is getting so complicated, what with everybody talking about modes, do-re-mi and pi, whatever that is.

A pentatonic song is one that has five tones in it. They don't have to form a scale or anything else. The popularity of pentatonic tunes has to do with the fact that most people have five fingers on any one hand.

Let us say you are making a whistle for a child to play while s/he watches the cows all day. You can tell her to put her hand on a length of bamboo. You cut five holes where her fingers naturally fall, and lo you have a pentatonic flute. It won't be in any known scale, and it can't harmonize with other flutes, but it will play pentatonic tunes and will help stave off insanity while she is alone in the pasture all day (or even all summer.)

Or you can write a tune using any five notes of the scales commonly used in "Western" music.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:56 AM

Nigel Parsons: I was just quoting from anold book!
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM

Guest leenia:
I think your theory of a five hole whistle played with the five digits of one hand sounds a bit suspect. Covering five holes using one hand on a whistle or flute seems to me a seriously awkward thing for a small child to do: even when you've figured out that one of the holes needs to be round the back. I dont think that would have proved a popular way to make music.
    And another practical reason why I'm unconvinced: if you make five holes in a whistle, and master the art of playing it with the digits of one hand, you'll then find that a five-holer plays six notes. So you will have invented hexatonic music!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 05:07 PM

A Pentatonic tune is just 5 tones, so using just the black keys on the piano is one way to explore them.

What a pentatonic scale lacks is semitones. In that all white key example, you'd never use both of the white keys that are adjacent in the same tune.

The Ionian/Aeloian/Dorian/Mixolydian, etc. distinctions become pretty meaningless. Omit a 7th entirely from an otherwise major tune & you can't call it Ionian or Mixolydian.

Thus Pi 1= Ionian, without the 4th and 7th (and sounds Scottish or Appalachian, or Chinese
Pi 2    = Mixolydian, without the 7th and 3d (and sounds Irish) and so on around.

You can with equal precision say:
Pi 1= Mixolydian, without the 4th and 7th
Pi 2= Ionian, without the 7th and 3d


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: toadfrog
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM

O.k. Burke, and what does it mean to say a scale "lacks semitones"? Does it mean, "if you have a scale with only five notes in it, it is uneconomical to have two of those tones only a single tone apart"? Is a tune with only 5 tones, two of which are only a single half tone apart, a theoretical impossibility?

Mind you, I'm a musical illiterate; I'm just asking.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Callie
Date: 31 Mar 03 - 11:16 PM

Toadfrog:

Sit at a piano and play

CD FGA

that's a pentatonic scale.

If you play anything in between, including sharps and flats, it's no longer pentatonic.

good luck

Callie


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:44 PM

toadfrog, I find that we all have different kinds of filters that help us make sense of these things. I'll go back to your original examples in hopes that is makes sense. Because I think sol-fege, I'll also give the scales in do-re-me as an alternate way of sounding the scales, because that's how I make sense of it.

It's the location & movement of the semitones that defines these modes you listed. The semitones are always mi-fa and ti-do

Major key = Ionian scale
Semitones at 3-4 & 7-8
do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do

With flatted 7th = Mixolydian
Semi tones at 3-4 & 6-7 (your flatted the 7th to move the semitone)
sol-la-ti-do-re-mi-fa-sol

With flatted 3d = Dorian
Semi tones at 2-3 & 6-7
re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do-re

With flatted 6th = Aeolian, or melodic minor
Semitones at 2-3 & 5-6
la-ti-do-re-mi-fa-sol-la

With flatted 2d = Phrygian
Semitones at 1-2 & 5-6
mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do-re-mi


In both of the Pentatonic examples you gave
you've eliminated the 3-4 and 7-8 semi-tones of the Ionian scale and
you've eliminated the 3-4 and 6-7 of the Mixolydian scale

But you've done it differently, in both the 7 is gone, eliminating the greatly loved leading tone of the diatonic scale. In Pi1 3-4 is skipped by going 3-5; in Pi2 it's omitted by going 2-4 and 6-8. In both there is a gap of 1.5 replacing the semitones.
Pi 1= 1-2-3---5-6---8
Pi 1= Ionian, without the 4th and 7th or
do-re-mi---sol-la--do
Pi 1= Mixolydian, without the 4th and 7th
sol-la-ti---re-mi--sol

Pi 2= 1-2---4-5-6---8
Pi 2= Mixolydian, without the 7th and 3d or
sol-la---do-re-mi---sol
Pi 2= Ionian, without the 7th and 3d
do-re---fa-sol-la---do
Pi 2= Dorian, without the 7th & 3d
re-mi---sol-la-ti---re

In theory you could have other diatonic or pentatonic scales. Isn't the blues scale one? To have semi-tones in a 5 tone scale you'd have to have 2 step gaps elsewhere in the scale so, probably not. In practice I think the pentatonic scales sometimes reduce the 1.5 gaps by slightly raising or lowering the adjacent tones, but not a full half step. So while you might not have semitones in pentatonic scales you could get 3/4 tones. I've been told Bartok noted this in Hungarian folk music. Staff notation, designed for the diatonic scale can't handle it. Fiddles, fretless banjo's & voices can.

I think when people start moving the whole & half tones around they usually end up with scales with more or less notes as well. The 12 tone scale is all semitones & used in modern music. You could also have a 6 note scale of all whole tones.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:00 PM

PS. I really think finding a piano & playing all the white or all the black keys would be easier. Jumping the gaps between the sets of black keys, omits the semi-tones.

Pentatonic all black
Pi 1 (begins on the 1st of the 3 black keys together, f#)
Pi 2 (begins on the 1st of the 2 black keys together, c#)

Diatonic, all white
Ionian-starts on C (white before the 2 black)
Mixolydian-starts on G
Dorian-starts on D (white between the 2 black)
Aeolian-starts on A
Phrygian-starts on E (white after the 2 black)


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: toadfrog
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:16 PM

Burke: Thanks, that's a lot of work, and I appreciate it.

And I think I'm probably too inarticulate to get the point over. But it's something like this. If the purpose is to know why the "modes" have a different feel and sound, and compare the feel and effect of those scales, does it not seem a lot clearer if you begin each scale on the same note?

Additional question. Is it fair to say that a tune originally composed in a pentatonic scale is more likely to be a coherent tune?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 04:09 AM

Confusion is arising because "pentatonic" has more than one meaning, and they are not unterchangable (much like "folk"). It can mean a scale with five notes in it(any five notes). But it also has the specific meaning(more commonly used) of a five note scale using five notes with a specific relation to each other (eg CDEGA, and the scale can start on any one of those). If two people are talking about this, you have to decide which meaning you are using if you want to avoid confusion.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:19 AM

Greg Stephens, you are right.

About the child playing the flute with five notes, I should mention that with such flutes, the other hand is left free to play (or do) something else, such as beat a drum.

The high octave note you get by blowing hard doesn't count as a sixth tone.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM

leeneia..you are quite right about one hand whistles you play the drum with..pipe and tabor used to be common in England and is being revived again. My main query with you was simple maths...five holes on a whistle, uncovering them one at a time, makes six notes..CDEFGA say, if that's how the holes are cut. Of course, if one of the holes happens to be cut half way along you will get an octave note that doesnt count: but basically, however many holes you cut, you get that-many-plus-one notes. Try it: a one hole whistle plays 2 notes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 06:18 PM

toadfrog, you said If the purpose is to know why the "modes" have a different feel and sound, and compare the feel and effect of those scales, does it not seem a lot clearer if you begin each scale on the same note?

It's one way of approaching it. That's why I did all the semi-tones between 7-8, etc. That does assume you start on the same note. I was trying to put it into the framework that you said works for you. Did it help to answer your no semitone question?

For other's it's white key/black key that works. Neither is necessarily clearer, just the framework that works to them.

As a shapenote singer I find that it's sol-fege that works for me. I can sing a major scale picking a tone for do. Using the some tone to start a minor scale, if I sing it as la-ti-do.., I can get it right in a way that I can't if I'm not singing the syllables. And in truth, I'm more inclined to start a Dorian scale on la & just raise the 6th, rather than actually starting on re.

I don't think that describing specific Pentatonic modes as variants on specific diatonic modes is particularly clear simply because the gapped nature of pentatonic makes some distinctions moot. Still if it works for you, fine. And maybe your discription works for someone else.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,GUEST - |binary_sunset|
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 02:44 AM

Or how about hemitonic scales (that is, scales with half steps)

F# G B C# D f# comes to mind as a pretty good one on the flute. Of a very different breed than your average "black key" pentatonic scale, with some rather abstract modal relationships.

Th predominance of M7 intervals between harmonic regions is indicative of great emphasis on melodic structures, rather than harmonies, as the latter prove to become easily tetrachordal and dissonant. This is evidenced in the music of Japan, where this scale is utilized often.

Hadn't seen this one described here, so I thought I would post it...

|binary_sunset|


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: toadfrog
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:00 AM

Thanks Burke! It has been many years since I've been near a piano, but I will try to find one and try your pattern.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Burke
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:03 AM

Here's another site for information on pentatonic music:

Pentatonic Music Collection


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 01:15 AM

Here's the most beautiful one from the old church in Jeff, Kentucky, then (in my youth) known as The Little Zion Church; it was our dismissal hymn...wish I could give the tune- if anyone wants it, I'll look for help:

Jesus grant us all a blessing,
Send it down, Lord, from above;
May we all go home a-praying
As we try to teach thy love.
Farewell brethern, farewell sisters
Till we all shall meet again.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: toadfrog
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 03:13 PM

Thanks Kytrad! I think all of us would want the tune, although it would be more likely to get attention as a lyric add rather than part of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: GUEST,Guest, Pauline Lerner
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 09:47 PM

Sorry, but I still don't get the point in terms of sound and feeling. A song in Mixolydian (dropped seventh) sounds way different from our "normal scale", and I just love the sound of it. I love songs in Mixolydian. They sound way cool.

Now for the pentatonic scale, let's consider one with only 5 notes and no semitones. (I don't play piano, so the black keys / white keys thing doesn't mean anything to me.)

IMPORTANT: What's the point? Does a pentatonic scale / tune have a different sound? Is there some special mathematical relationship among the notes? How does it feel and why?

I was once at a gathering of international musicians, including some Hmong (I think). I didn't speak their language and they didn't speak mine. I wanted to play my fiddle with them. Someone knowledgeable told me that they used a pentatonic scale, and he advised me to play something in A mixolydian. This was a great opportunity to play one of my favorite tunes, "Red Haired Boy." I played it, and by gosh, they followed me. I taught them one of my favorite songs although I didn't know anything about their native music except that it used a pentatonic scale. Wow! That was so much fun. Now, what do you think of that? Why did it work?


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 15 - 06:31 PM

Probably just good musicians with a good ear for a catchy tune. A lot of my friends also play "The Red Haired Boy" but without any knowledge of music theory, modes or pentatonic scales!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Mar 15 - 06:47 PM

I'll have to have a think about Red-haired Boy. Is it really pentatonic? I thought it was just a regular Mixolydian tune. Mrs Steve's in bed so I can't try it out on my harmonica right now! If I can play a tune in three different keys on a blues harp without bending notes I think of it as pentatonic. There's Auld Lang Syne, Amazing Grace and Dirty Old Town. I'm sure someone will jump in and tell me I've got the wrong idea!


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Subject: RE: Help: Pentatonic Tunes
From: Marje
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 10:51 AM

No, Red Haired Boy isn't pentatonic, there are no gaps in the scale. I think it's mixolydian, which is no more or less accessible than our normal (Ionian) mode to musicians from different traditions. Perhaps the person who advised this tune wasn't entirely clear what a pentatonic tune is. Anyway, glad it went down well.

Marje


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