Bobby Mcferrin messes with your mind


You can try to resist Bobby Mcferrin, but he still messes with your mind. It looks like bunch of zombies humming around and Bobby leading them. I bet none of them have idea of what Pentatonic scale is but hey, who cares if it works. I hope to see more videos like this from Bobby!

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Brijesh Chauhan

My name is Brijesh Chauhan. I live in Silicon Valley, CA. I tweak technology for a living. Jealous?

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  • Thanks for posting this. I find it interesting that music is so universally familiar that audiences all over the world will have the same response to that routine. Does this mean music is universal, or that we are all wire the same (a rather Kantian notion), or that we have all learned music in the same way?

  • @Mcgelliot
    I was taking in what you were saying, until you used the word “Kantian”, then it all fell apart after that. Such a shame as it was going so well, you couldn’t resist being pretentious and it got spoiled, c’est la vie!

  • @Hobittual
    I was taking in what you were saying, until you used the phrase “c’est la vie!”, then it all fell apart after that. Such a shame as it was going so well, you couldn’t resist being pretentious and it got spoiled, such is life.

  • No, he’s the guy that did “don’t worry, be happy”. Absolutely amazing! look up the song “Drive my Car” by Bobby Mcferrin. It is truly spectacular.

  • Saw him with Chick and Jack DeJohnette in Santa Barbara… the entire show was improvised and experimental, and the entire crowd was a bunch of 50 year old wealthy white people who probably expected to hear “Don’t Worry Be Happy” 12 times. When he busted out the audience participation everyone was initially frazzled. “We can’t make sounds at a concert! What on earth? Rabble rabble rabble!” But then everyone got it and it was AWESOME!

  • What I find interesting is that everyone was able to follow, yet, I doubt every audience member was musically talented. But I guess despite the ranges of musical talent, the human mind has rhythm embedded in it pretty deep. Enough for a bunch of strangers to be able to pick up notes by instinct.

  • I must have missed it – as he progressed stage left the notes got higher, and lower notes going to stage right. So a new place further left should be higher, I see no other choice.

    As I write this, I wonder if the point was that the audience seemed harmonious when challenged with a new note.

    Any help??

  • @Puzzled

    Gold star, you got it. The point was that everyone just *knows* what note comes next without regards to nationality or musical background.

  • @Puzzled

    The point was that everyone in the audience subconsiously chose to sing the pentatonic scale instead of another scale (major, minor, whole tone, octatonic, etc) after hearing only two notes. Bobby gave the audience the first note, and then the second note, but when he jumped to the third note without giving the pitch, the audience knew to sing another whole step up instead of a half step or a third which also would have been a reasonable choice.

    The pentatonic scale is the only really universal scale because because of the natural overtone series i.e. when you drag a heavy desk across a wooden floor the pitches you hear constitute a pentatonic scale. Every other scale (including our beloved major scale) either has pitches added in or was entirely made up by musicians/composers.

    • What confuses me is that everyone somehow knew that he was ascending a scale. If it’s me, I wouldn’t have known what he was doing with the melody, whether he would go up or down a step on the next jump… I mean he’d only given two notes previous to that, there wasn’t enough of an established pattern for me to conclude that he’s building a scale.

  • @McGelligot; @Brijesh

    I think that we are all wired the same. Even through cultural boundaries people have the same response to this, so it must mean that we naturally process the music the same way. After all, human music comes from humans so it was created by human minds (which are definitely all wired the same), and I haven’t yet seen any research on the pentatonic scale used by other musical animals. So while it’s true that music is universal, it is universal only because human musical cognition is universal, which created it.

  • @tess the tyrant
    Yes, very true, may be its only limited to humans. Or may be not, may be aliens from different planets would also rhyme with us. This just made me thinking, why we never hear sounds of supernova red-giant blowing up? May be we can call that music “universal”

    PS: When I read the first line in your comment “we are all wired the same”, that reminded me of famous lady gaga blunder “may be we all are aliens”…lol

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