HHB who, from my point of view, dates back to the early days of Works Well, sadly admits defeat in the face of updated Blogger saying her little notebook computer can’t cope. However, she may crop up on Tone Deaf with further bits and pieces emailed from Perth, W. Australia. Like this LITTLE GEM.
I was amazed the audience responded with some precision to the sequences initiated by the engaging Bobby McFerrin given that the pentatonic scale (PS) is two semitone intervals fewer than the more familiar seven-note heptatonic (ie, doh-re-me, etc) scale. Having Googled PS, and discovered for myself the tune Comin’ Through The Rye which can be played all bar one note on the keyboard’s black notes (thus probably making it pentatonic), I emailed Julia in Prague for amplification since she represents in human form the full 25,000-page Grove Musical Dictionary.
Julia never disappoints: “As you realized, the black keys make up an excellent example of a pentatonic scale. Because black keys are very easy to harmonize with, due to their lack of dissonant notes, when I work with little kids on the piano, I like to get them to make up music using only black keys as it is easy to do and the results sound good right off the beat.
“On to your next question: lots of folk music is pentatonic for the very same reason that it's fun for kids to compose using only the black keys - because pentatonic music is very easy to harmonize to - and the easier it is to harmonize to music, the more likely that folk tune is going to get and stay popular with musicians across the years. I suspect Comin' Through The Rye falls under that category!”
Thanks to you both.