During the talk “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus” at the World Science Festival in 2009, the very talented Bobby McFerrin stood up from his chair and proceeded to instruct the audience to sing with him. Using the stage as a keyboard of sorts, McFerrin sang one note and jumped to the side and sang another note and repeated. The audience vocally followed each of his instructions, even going as far as to anticipate a note he hadn’t shown them yet, but was the next note of the pentatonic scale. This continued until a wonderful ad hoc song was created. After McFerrin sat down he commented about how instinctive the scale is.
What’s interesting to me about that is regardless of where I am, anywhere, every audience gets that.
But it doesn’t matter, that’s just, you know, the pentatonic scale.