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  1. #1

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    I’ve been teaching guitar for 15 years and I’ve certainly taught the pentatonic scale to students. I’ve wondered about the origin of the pentatonic scale and I’ve tried to figure out the origin myself as well as doing online research which gives a lot of different answers. I usually get the best answers here at this forum so I wanted to ask if anybody knows the actual origin of the pentatonic scale?

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  3. #2

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    The answer to this question is lost in time. There's only speculation at this point.

    .

  4. #3

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    I believe that the pentatonic scales are understood to be extremely ancient, possibly predating civilisation itself.

    scale | Definition, Music Theory, & Types | Britannica

  5. #4

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    We have five fingers on each hand.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    We have five fingers on each hand.
    Which has nothing to do with the pentatonic scale since pianos weren’t around.

    The pentatonic scale has no half steps and therefore works with, or rather as the base of, a lot of different music systems. Otherwise, what Christian said - its origins are shrouded in the mist of time.


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  7. #6

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    Probably has to do with its inclusion of the important steps of the harmonic series ( 4th, 5th, octave) and with the "bluing" of the third, it's able to fit in the major and minor contexts in western harmony ? It must have started with the first string instruments.

  8. #7

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    I thought I invented it? I've bought the copyright from a guy in the pub who said he was a legit lawyer, and expect the royalties to flood in any day now....

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Which has nothing to do with the pentatonic scale since pianos weren’t around.
    Who said anything about pianos? Simple instruments are easy to play if each finger is assigned one note.

  10. #9

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    This isn't a woo-woo site. It's written by a music teacher and author.

    'The Pentatonic scale we now know predates Pythagoras, the Babylonians and virtually every other culture all the way back to these early bird bone flutes that have been discovered in various parts of the world'


    Pentatonic scale | Ancient Origins

  11. #10

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    And a pentatonic flute would need only four fingers. (Still I have a feeling that people might have sung before they invented melody instruments.)


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  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    And a pentatonic flute would need only four fingers. (Still I have a feeling that people might have sung before they invented melody instruments.)


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    agree..the voice and hand clap was the first classical jazz blues rock band..

    listen to early church chants.. and while not "bending" notes they do stretch them a bit..a natural progression to vocal call and response and blue notes ..

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    And a pentatonic flute would need only four fingers.
    Also an unfingered open note and a thumb to steady it.