The music of the spheres has always intrigued me. Ever since I’ve heard that phrase, I have marveled at the possibility of actually hearing this music. Pythagoras, who loved mathematics and geometry, first coined the words. He inhabited the earth from ca. 570 to ca. 490 BCE.
There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres. Pythagoras
Much later in history, the English composer, Gustav Holst, (1874 – 1934) used his composer’s imagination to represent this concept musically with The Planets. There are seven movements to his orchestral suite. Pluto was not yet discovered at the time it was written. In this suite, Holst created a movement for all seven known planets except Earth. My favorite of these is Jupiter. Here is a flash mob orchestral rendition of it. This version gave me goosebumps!
Now, there is a brilliant modern day astrophysicist and musician, Matt Russo. At last, he can give us the treat of actually hearing the mathematical equivalent of the sounds stars and planets and even entire solar systems would make. He basically utilizes formulas and fractions representing orbits, brightness, temperature, etc. with music. Did you know some solar systems are in tune and others are not?
Finally, Matt Russo, who was featured in the previous You Tube, has created an amazingly interactive website. This site demonstrates some of his work in translating the stars and planets into music. It was inspired by a seeing-impaired girl. Translating the visual experience of seeing the sky into an auditory feast allowed her, at long last, an accessible way to examine this wonder! Enjoy playing the moons of Jupiter and see how much different it is than Holst’s Jupiter! Try strumming Saturn’s harp strings, which are more than likely the rings around her. Play the music of the Pleiades. If you like, you may even write your own music on this delightful site! Have fun!