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Bobby McFerrin gives amazing demonstration of the power of the pentatonic scale

By
Jennifer Van Evra

Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment?

Those were the questions being considered at a 2009 conference titled "Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus," which featured This Is Your Brain On Music author and McGill scientist Daniel Levitin, legendary musician Bobby McFerrin, and neuroscientists Jamshed Bharucha and Lawrence Parsons.

Along the way, McFerrin gave an amazing demonstration of the power of the pentatonic scale on our brains—no matter where we're from or what our cultural background is—and human expectations.

Check it out:

Care to check out the whole event? It's fascinating, and you can watch it here: