Wednesday, April 21, 2010
What's different about this song? The answer
In comments to the previous post I said a hint was which notes you don't see. A quick scan of this piece will reveal that there are no Fas or Tis: no half steps. This is a scale which is used in different variations all over the world for many different kinds of music. However, this is the first time I've ever seen a song in any hymnal that was written in a pentatonic scale.
As I said before, another odd thing about it is that it ends on Re, which leaves a feeling of it being unfinished to western ears (this particular song being based on a Japanese melody). But since that last post, I have come across a few other songs which appear to be in a minor key, beginning on a minor chord (La-Do-Mi) as one would expect, but ending on a chord based on Re (either Re-Fa-La or Re-Fi-La). Such endings are outside my experience and training and I'm still trying to figure out what exactly is supposed to be going on.
UPDATE: Click on Here O Lord to download a simple mp3 version of this song if you want to hear what the tune sounds like.