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Important intervals in the pentatonic scale

Getting to grips with the pentatonic scale

Piano keyboard with notes of pentatonic scale

Here’s the ‘common’ pentatonic scale.

David Horne is attracted to this scale because of its distinctive sounds and the intervals (the distances between the notes) it 'contains'. The intervals which can be heard most frequently in Emerging Dances are the whole tone, the perfect fifth and the perfect fourth. All of these intervals are contained in the pentatonic scale.

But these intervals - whole tones, perfect fifths and perfect fourths - are not just repeated in the same way over and over again in Emerging Dances. David Horne plays with them so that each time they appear they are used in a slightly different way.

He uses these intervals to make different chords, new melodies and to create conversations between different instruments of the orchestra. This is called ‘harmonic development’.

So, on one hand, David Horne introduces the listener to intervals which he then develops all through the piece. But, on the other, these intervals are fixed as part of the pentatonic scale. David Horne uses the pentatonic scale as a frame for the intervals which he uses and develops in Emerging Dances.

How exactly does David Horne use and develop each of the intervals in Emerging Dances?

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