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Close Encounters of the Major Third Kind

Edit 1-7-14: Video of this Blog

“Up a Whole Tone, down a Major Third, down an Octave, up a Perfect Fifth.”

In “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, grey aliens play these 5 Tones on their mothership’s synthesizer. Hollywood composer John Williams wrote the lick, and fashioned it after the 5 letter word “Hello”. Two of the tones are the same, just like the double L’s.

The 5 Tones belong to the Ab Major Pentatonic Scale

The Major Pentatonic scale is a happy floaty dream -- ‘Playground’ tonality.
There is little tension. The intervals are widely spaced; there are no semitones.
This is because the Pentatonic scale omits two very important notes from the Diatonic (7-note) Scale.

These 2 notes form a Tritone, or “Devil’s Interval”. Sounded together, they are the most dissonant interval known to man. In studies done on babies, tritones produce a negative response. In the middle ages, this interval was banned by the church for being so awesomely evil.

When added to the Pentatonic scale, the tritone creates two semitones, between the III and IV, and the VII and VIII. The semitone produces the most tension in harmony, as it is the smallest interval in Equal Temperament.

It makes sense that greys would come at us with a Pentatonic scale. A nice, neutral scale, that wouldn’t offend Earth’s babies.

You wouldn’t want to encounter this:

Here’s the best scene ever from any movie.