pen·​ta·​ton·​ic | \ ˌpen-tə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce pentatonic (audio) \

Definition of pentatonic

: consisting of five tones specifically : being or relating to a scale in which the tones are arranged like a major scale with the fourth and seventh tones omitted

Examples of pentatonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Based on the traditional pentatonic scale, the work took on an otherworldly quality. Washington Post, "Shanghai Symphony Orchestra debuts at Wolf Trap," 15 Aug. 2019 Some make references to traditional Chinese melodies, some to Chinese aesthetics or ideas — pentatonic scales, for example — and some to the kind of evocations of nature (mountains, flowers) that are widespread in Chinese culture. Jacob Dreyer, New York Times, "Chinese Composers With an Ear to the World," 12 Jan. 2018 The chime's five notes, which correspond to a piano's black keys, make up the minor pentatonic scale. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make Your Own Wind Chimes," 9 Feb. 2015 Chimes, painted black to fade into the shadows, are tuned to ring the pentatonic scale, according to Atlas Obscura. Cate Root,, "10 spots to see majestic trees from the Live Oak Society registry," 24 Aug. 2017 As their pentatonic melodies and Western harmonies recapitulate the cultural conflict, their lyrics achieve the pith and mystery of haiku. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘Pacific Overtures’ Revival Is Bare Yet Flowering," 4 May 2017 We are thrown into a world that is as much Romantic as minimalist: the harmony thickens incrementally; quiet episodes are juxtaposed with thunderous fortissimos; pentatonic interludes add an angelic sweetness. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Julius Eastman’s Guerrilla Minimalism," 23 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pentatonic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pentatonic

1864, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for pentatonic

The first known use of pentatonic was in 1864

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pentatonic

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