Feb 012012
The pentatonic scale, a 5-note scale, is the basis for countless folk songs around the world. Here’s an explanation of the importance of the pentatonic scale in an Orff classroom:
The music used in the classroom is based on the children’s own heritage with a combination of folk and composed music. Here in America, our classrooms are multicultural. Orff philosophy embraces the folk music of all cultures. They are almost all in the universal pentatonic scale. (Five note scale – separated by whole steps.) C Pentatonic would include the pitches C D E G A. This is the most common scale used in Orff because it is easily used with the Orff instruments.

Below: Printable pentatonic xylophones & staffs


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  17 Responses to “Pentatonic Songs”

  1. Thanks for putting so much thought into organizing your songs! I am putting together some resources for a student teacher…coming here was SO much easier than pulling from a million different books! Thanks!!

  2. Beth, I’m currently working in Mumbai, India without many of my resources. This is helping me model pentatonic songs. A million thanks to you for putting this together! Love your blog!

  3. Hi, I’m working with some kids in Ethiopia. The pentatonic scale is used in all their folk songs. This is a lovely collection! Thank you for your hard work!

    • Kathleen,

      My sister adopted her daughter from Ethiopia, and she is now living with me for awhile. Do you know of any resources where I could find Ethiopian folk songs?

      Thank you!

  4. Oh my gosh, I just had so much fun going through these pieces of music! I’ve honestly never been that keen on recorders or orff… but some of these are so much fun, and have such great, applicable material to our school system’s incredibly intense curriculum, I just love it!

  5. Thanks for the great song resources – I am studying Music Therapy and these will be so helpful

  6. Great collection. I think “Farmer in The Dell” can be added as well. Thank you!

  7. I was looking for a new so,la, mi song and stumbled across your web page. Thank you so much! I now have the so, la , mi song I need as well as some different pentatonic songs with my target rhythm elements in them.

  8. Are all of these songs on the website public domain? Can I use them for concert performances for example?

  9. Beth this is really great- for cansurvivors making music is part of healing, and I have a thumb piano tuned to a pentatonic scale- it would be wonderful for us on http://www.cansurviving.com if you could register and post your link on the Mind and Spirit section? Wth a little sentence maybe about the deep importance of these old folk tunes? We’d love to have you on thesite- your link was passed on to me by a musical friend- we both used to use Nordoff Robbins songs in classrooms…hope to see you on our international group built site…

  10. Don’t forget “Amazing Grace”!

  11. Thank you so much for this collection. It is well appreciated??

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