Posted in Project 5: Pentatonic Melody Examples

Example 3: Puirt a Beul

Note: Before this example, you can take a look first at my research regarding the Scottish music, specifically the folksongs and the scotch snap rhythm, which influenced the construction of the piece below.


After the second example – Xin Tian You, where I looked at the way the pentatonic scale is used in the Chinese musical tradition, I decided to visit another, somewhat foreign place to me, where pentatonic scale also plays an important part in the traditional folk music – Scotland. Looking at its different folksong genres, I was attracted to the vocal dance songs – puirt a beul, often called mouth music. I initially composed the melody below:

initial melody 2

However, just like for the pentatonic chant, I thought this could be developed more and thus, I created a longer piece, using the melody above as the starting point:

puirt a beul2

Here is the audio you can listen to:

Continue reading “Example 3: Puirt a Beul”

Posted in Project 5: Pentatonic Melody Examples

Example 2: Xin Tian You

Note: Before you see my example, you can read my research regarding the Chinese music, especially the folksongs, and the way the pentatonic scale is used there – all of which influenced the construction of the melody below.


Continuing on from the Western chant tradition and the previous example, I wanted to travel further and through research, I looked at the way the pentatonic scale was used in the East, particularly in China – returning again to my roots. I was particularly interested in the folksongs. After some thinking, I decided to write a melody in the style of Xin Tian You – the mountain song genre from Shaanxi province, developed by the porters that were transporting goods to far away places. Here is the melody:

Xin tian you

The audio version is below:

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Posted in Project 5: Pentatonic Melody Examples

Example 1: Pentatonic chant

Note: Before you take a look at my example, you can read my research regarding Western plainchant, especially the debatable role of the pentatonicism in the Gregorian chant.


Project 5 is about composing three short contrasting vocal melodic shapes using the pentatonic scale. Contrary to the examples given in the course material, where the step-wise motion dominates the melodies, I decided to go for wider interval jumps. For the first example, without bar lines, but using rests that take the role of grouping the phrases, initially I composed the melodic line below:

initial melody

Since the grouping is achieved by the rests, and the melody consists of interval jumps, I also decided not to add any slurs. Although written using the pentatonic scale, I was surprised that the slow, free flowing nature of the melody somehow resembled the Western plainchant. After doing some research, where I learned more about the forms found in chant traditions such as Gregorian chant,  I decided to title this Pentatonic plainchant. I also felt like this could be developed more and decided to extend the example into a longer piece, using the initial melody I composed as the starting point:

pentatonic chant.png

You can listen to it below:

Continue reading “Example 1: Pentatonic chant”