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U.K. PIANO TEACHERS GROUP - SPECIAL ISSUE

Candida Tobin
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The Pentatonic Scale

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The Circular Music Notation Ruler

By putting the Notation Strip into a circle, with the names of the notes displayed in the same position as the figures on the face of the clock, further revelations are made. This circular form, the Notation strip becomes an unending succession if twelve semitones.

If you start on any of these "notes", say C for example and move clockwise round the circle picking up four perfect 5ths (seven semitones) C to G, G to D, D to A and a to E. (Draw a line back to C) you will find the points, of this star-like pattern called a PENTACLE.

The points of which, form the Pentatonic scale C D E G A.

By joining the points of the star a "Pentagon" is produced.

Within these five notes there are

Two chords, the major and it's relative minor and a pivot note.

By doing this again, but this time starting on F, (the subdominant of C) and picking up

Six perfect 5ths.

F to C, C/G, G/D, D/A, A/E, E/B,

The seven notes of the scale of C are found.

C D E F G A and B

But this is the interesting part of our project - What are the notes that do not belong to the scale?

They are in fact the Pentatonic scale: F# G# A# C# D#

Does this mean that if we listen to a piece of music in any key, what we cannot hear (like the negative of a film) are the notes of the Pentatonic Scale?

Wouldn't it be interesting if we could manage to hear the antithesis?

Those countries in the East, who's music has been based on the pentatonic scale for hundreds of years, but who now have wholeheartedly taken to the Western diatonic seven note scale with such enthusiasm, need only to have taken two more leaps in the perfect fifth cycle.

So the Pentatonic scale is a series of five notes that contain no semitones

Constructed by four perfect fifths.

It is made up of a major triad and it's relative minor triad with a pivot note standing between the three sequential diatonic alphabetically named notes.

The space between the notes of any major scale make up the notes of the Pentatonic scale. QED

Here are three more musical patterns for your delectation!

The Augmented triad divides the Notation Circle into thirds.

Starting on any point of the equilateral triangle produces an augmented triad, and the triangle (chord) can start on any note.

The Diminished 7th divides the Notation circle into quarters.

Again, starting on any of the points produces a diminished 7th and the square can start on any note in the Notation circle.

The Whole Tone scale is made up of two augmented triangles.