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JLMoriart

A pentatonic notation system, and its weird compositional implications

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Our music notation system is built around the diatonic scale, but could we build it around a different scale, like the pentatonic scale? And what would that change? That's what I dive into in this video, if you'd like to check it out:

 

The tl;dr here is that, when you change to a pentatonic notation system, the sharp/flat in that system ends up being the minor second from our diatonic system, and that leads to what I think is an inspiring new perspective for playing and composing music. In addition to providing a new perspective, it also makes a practical and audible difference when playing music in tunings where are enharmonic equivalents are no longer equivalent, since alterations of the pentatonic scale by the pentatonic sharp/flat (the diatonic minor second) will actually sound different than alterations of the scale by the diatonic sharp/flat (the diatonic augmented unison).

In the video, there's a short boogie-woogie style composition that I wrote in 19-tone equal temperament with this pentatonic system in mind.

What do you think about the results, and the idea of a pentatonic notation system itself? Would you try to write something using this notation system if a notation program made it available to you? I'd love to hear any thoughts, and please feel free to ask any questions about the video, and the initial theory I breeze through. (I had to gloss over that stuff to get to the meat of the video, and I do realize it ends up being a bit of a bombardment in the beginning there.)

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