Bobby McFerrin Makes a Keyboard...Out of People
On June 12, 2009, vocalist Bobby McFerrin participated in a panel discussion called "Notes & Neurons: In Search of a Common Chorus" at the World Science Festival. As part of the discussion, he performed an amazing feat -- he trained an audience, in mere seconds, to become a sort of human keyboard. In the video below, McFerrin points to the floor, sings a note, then makes the audience sing it. He steps to one side and sings the next note, and again, the audience sings it. The audience proceeds to sing notes as a sort of gigantic human keyboard/chorus as McFerrin jumps back and forth on stage.
McFerrin then says: "Now, what's interesting to me about that is, regardless of where I am -- anywhere -- every audience gets that. It's just that the pentatonic scale, for some reason...." One of the scientists on the panel raises the question: "Just to phrase the question scientifically, Larry, what the hell just happened here?" Just watch this. It's neat and it's short:
For the entire program (including "what this has to do with science"), check out the Notes & Neurons site, which has a five-part video series showing the full discussion. Note: Part Four has the bit with McFerrin's pentatonic scale demonstration and the subsequent discussion.