pentatonic scale

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pentatonic scale

Music any of several scales consisting of five notes, the most commonly encountered one being composed of the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth degrees of the major diatonic scale
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pentatonic Scale


a tonal system that has five steps to the octave. The main type of pentatonic scale (the tonal, or natural scale, as well as the Chinese or Scottish scale) has no semitones, and its tones can be arranged in perfect fifths. In this scale, there can be only two intervals between adjacent steps—the minor third or the major second. Characteristic of the pentatonic scale are three-step groups, or tetrachords, that have no semitones (for example, mi-sol-la). Because of the absence of semitones, strong harmonic tendencies are not inherent in this scale. It lacks a definite tonal center—that is, any of the five tones can serve as the central tone. Consequently, five variants of the pentatonic scale can be produced from a single combination of tones.

The pentatonic scale, which has been called protodiatonic by the Soviet musicologist G. L. Katuar, is a natural stage in the development of musical thought. For this reason, the scale (or its rudiments) is found in the oldest musical folklore of various peoples. In its pure form the pentatonic scale is common in the music of China, Vietnam, and other Oriental countries. In the USSR, it is widely encountered in the music of the Tatars, Bashkirs, and Buriats, for example. Elements of the pentatonic system are also inherent in the most ancient Russian folk songs.


Kozlov, I. A. “Piatizvuchnye bespolutonnye gammy v tatarskoi i bashkirskoi narodnoi muzyke i ikh muzykal’no-teoreticheskii analiz.” Izv. obshchestva arkheologii, istorii i etnografii pri Kazanskom gos. universitete, 1928, vol. 34.
Girshman, la. Pentatonika i ee razvitie v tatarskoi muzyke. Moscow, 1960.
Kvitka, K. V. “Ladovye sistemy v muzyke slavian i sosednykh narodov.” In his book Izbr. trudy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1971.
Riemann, H. Folkloristische Tonalitätsstudien. Leipzig, 1916.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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All yellow females had blue scales restricted to the submarginal area of the hindwing, resulting in less than 20% of blue color on the hindwing, which was similar to some dark females, but other dark females had blue that continued proximally and became more random and scattered, resulting in a larger variation of blue color in these morphs.
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Shad is characterized by metallic silver and blue scales and contain two plump roe sacks.
ugandensis species group, differing from all other species of the genus by combination of male colouration characters consisting of light blue scales with a broad irregularly reticulated pattern on body forming oblique bars in bright red, vivid bright red colouration on the head and dorsum, yellow or blue anal fin, large vivid red spot pattern on dorsal and anal fins; rounded head, dorsal profile of head slightly concave to nearly straight, convex from nape to end of dorsal fin base; variable cephalic squamation.
THE Blue-spotted Tree Monitor lizard (Varanus Macraei) is black with scattered blue scales, forming spots that may in turn form bands across the back.
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Ventral forewing duller than dorsum, distinctly brown caudad of [CuA.sub.2]; white macules of dorsum repeated with additional narrow white macules in [R.sub.1]-[R.sub.2] extending just distad of distal end of macule in discal cell and in Sc-[R.sub.1], from mid-macule in [R.sub.1]-[R.sub.2] to well distad of distal end of that macule roughly aligned with white macule in discal cell; pale blue macule at base of costa; postbasal band faint, most prominent in discal cell; thin line of pale blue scales at distal end of discal cell; submarginal pale blue macules somewhat more prominent than on dorsum, that in [CuA.sub.2]-2A doubled; pale blue macule in anal cell as on dorsum.
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