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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Pentatonic Modes

One of the important features of the pentatonic scale is that, like the seven modes of diatonic music, the tonic note can be moved around. This gives rise to five different pentatonic modes. Because of the asymmetrical pattern of intervals in the scale—tone, tone, minor third, tone, minor third—five modes are created, each with its own particular character (see Figure 16.4). Track 37 on the audio CD uses a pentatonic mode of this sort to create a nice ethnic-sounding texture.

Figure 16.4. The five pentatonic modes.

Like the major and minor modes with their emotional affinities (“mode” comes from the ancient ...

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