The Scale We’re All Drawn To

Back in 1994 or thereabouts, it was my pleasure to spend a few weeks recording and mixing the Bobby McFerrin album Bang! Zoom!. The album, a collaboration with the band the Yellowjackets, has remained one of my favorites — not only because of the high quality of the music, and the fun I had recording it, but also because it gave me a chance to get to know the extraordinarily gifted Mr. McFerrin, who is one of the most likable and intelligent people I have ever met in thirty years of record-making.

Bobby recently participated in a panel about music and neuroscience at the latest World Science Festival here in New York, and gave a unique and memorable demonstration of the affinity of the human brain for the pentatonic scale. Have a look here (fourth clip from the top, just below the dancing bird).

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3 Comments

  1. Malcolm, you’ve led a very interesting life, leaving me somewhat envious . . . not in the perncious sense of envy, of course.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted August 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Why, thanks, Jeffery. Yours has hardly been ordinary or boring either, it seems to me.

    Posted August 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    The Five Colors blind the eye;
    The Five Tones deafen the ear.

    — one of my favorite insights from the Tao Te Ching.

    I wish the video clip showed the ensuing discussion of the point McFerrin was trying to make. If I have time and energy, maybe I’ll sit and watch the complete video. Thanks for linking to this.

    Kevin

    Posted August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink