Bobby McFerrin tones your brain

It’s a new week.  For some people, it’s a new year.  The equinox, as Wodehouse said of Christmas, is at our throats again.  What better way to clear your brain than considering the pentatonic scale?

(Note:  I’ve switched the video to the version on YouTube; the original one seemed to perform poorly when embedded here.  You can find that original,  Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale at the World Science Festival on Vimeo.)

I’ll bet a pretest would have indicated that not many of these people could read music and that not many of them are prone to sing in public.  Pay attention to how little McFerrin instructs and how much he proposes.

I wasn’t much surprised to find that one panelist is Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music (mentioned a time or two here on the Whiteboard).  You’ll find the entire Notes and Neurons discussion in five videos (lengths vary; about 75 minutes in all) at the World Science Festival website.

Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? Join host John Schaefer, Jamshed Barucha, scientist Daniel Levitin, Professor Lawrence Parsons and musical artist Bobby McFerrin for live performances and cross cultural demonstrations to illustrate music’s note-worthy interaction with the brain and our emotions.

What more invitation do you need?