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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web More than a decade after forming, Pentatonix — a play on the pentatonic scale — became the first a cappella group to win a Grammy for arrangement with a sublime medley of Daft Punk songs in 2015. Michele Amabile Angermiller, Variety, 20 Feb. 2023 Notes appear on the screen in a colorblocked wheel that can be customized for pentatonic or heptatonic scales. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Jan. 2022 The pentatonic melodies and syncopated rhythms found within are some of the African influences that made the symphony a novel hybrid for its time. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 The first five notes in the cycle form the pentatonic scale, which is used in the music of many ancient cultures. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2020 In the second, by contrast, Thibaudet turned inward, using the exotic colors of the pentatonic scale and intervals to craft a profound and haunting rumination. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 6 Dec. 2019 Based on the traditional pentatonic scale, the work took on an otherworldly quality. Washington Post, 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, 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, 9 Feb. 2015 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pentatonic was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near pentatonic

Cite this Entry

“Pentatonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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