Yo Ki


audioclip Listen to the 2nd Movement

More About the Pentatonic Scale:

"The Scale"
By Don Robertson

Digital Symphony No. 6

Composed and performed by
Don Robertson

1. Hidden Woods (13:13)
2. Ascending Sun (14:41)
3. Daughter Earth (13:41)
4. Gods of War (11:40)
5. Distant Waters (11:43)

Total Time: 64:31 minutes


The Natural Pentatonic Scale is the Most Harmonious of all Scales.

I composed and recorded my Yo Ki album in April and May of 2001. I had long contemplated creating a full-length work using only the five notes of the natural pentatonic scale. My first drafts for a pentatonic orchestral piece had been created as far back as 1976.

The natural pentatonic scale is the most harmonious of all scales. Its notes (if applied to the tonic of C Major) are C, D, E, G, and A. In the key of F#, this scale corresponds to the black notes of the keyboard. It formed the basis of ancient Greek and ancient and modern Chinese music and is often found in folk tunes (such as the American tune She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain). The ancient Chinese believed this scale so important that most Chinese music was composed using it only. An ancient text called the Yo Ki describes what would happen to a society if any of the five notes of the scale were altered from the original.

The album Yo Ki, named after the ancient manuscript, begins with the music of ancient Chinese instruments, and evolves into more orchestral textures.

This album, over one-hour long, represents a revolution in Western classical music, where theorists believe that the only valid music is created using scales with seven or more notes with a continual alternation between consonant and dissonant harmony. More information about the pentatonic scale is available in my book "The Scale."

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