The Power of the Pentatonic Scale

10/06/10
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We don’t know much about the human brain on music. Do people instinctively know the sound patterns of the pentatonic scale? Is there a base level of musical knowledge in all of us, just waiting to be tapped? Or is the pentatonic scale simply so common in Western music that it has become ingrained in all of our minds? Improvisational genius Bobby McFerrin uses audience participation to demonstrate the power of the pentatonic scale—or at least the audience’s familiarity with it.

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Date: Friday June 12, 2009
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
Moderator: John Schaefer
Participants: Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Levitin, Jamshed Bharucha, Lawrence Parsons

Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? Join host John Schaefer, scientist Daniel Levitin and musical artist Bobby McFerrin for live performances and cross cultural demonstrations to illustrate music’s note-worthy interaction with the brain and our emotions....[Read more]

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