A Music Lesson ~ The Pentatonic Scale

The melody of "Amazing Grace" uses only five notes, known as the pentatonic scale. It can be played by using only the black keys of a piano keyboard. F#, G#, A#, C#, and D#.

If you use the white keys with no accidentals, it would be C, D, E, G, and A. With solfege, the pentatonic scale is Do, Re, Mi, So, La.

Let's play "Amazing Grace" on your piano, using just the black keys, starting with C#. If you don't have a piano or keyboard at home, you can download an app such as "Grand Piano" by Sonotap or use a free online version such as the one at Virtual Piano.

Did you know that there are numerous folk songs that use this same pentatonic scale? A folk song is one where we don't know who wrote the melody or lyrics. The music of "Amazing Grace" is a folk melody. We do know who wrote the words (John Newton), but not the the music it was connected with.

Here are a few more songs you can play with just various combinations of those 5 notes.

And, watch this fun video to see a demonstration of the pentatonic scale:

Another assignment: Make up your own melody using just the black keys of the piano. You can even add some words to it!

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