Open main menu

Wikibooks β

Music Theory/Chinese

< Music Theory

Chinese music, unlike western music, uses a five-tone scale known as the pentatonic scale. The easiest way to see this on a piano is to play the black keys only. The scale will sound oriental. This however, is an oversimplification, as in many Chinese instruments, a Western Diatonic scale is achievable, and 7-note scales are frequently used. Also, the music of Ethnic Minorities in China is often closely related to that of it's neighbours, such that microtonal adjustments of pitch are also used.

In the Chinese pentatonic, the most commonly used scale is usually D. The notes are then as follows:

D E F# A B D