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!
3 thoughts on “Music of the Spheres”
Oh, my goodness, Linda!
I am sitting here on this gray day which opened by being immersed in dense fog, feeling as though I am in liminal space where the veil is thin. I open your blog for today and the Holst youtube and am swept into the most tender experience. Tears stream gently as my being becomes so quiet, then ecstatic. Watching and listening to what started as one sound becomes many in harmony…it feels like creation…Seeing the faint smiles on faces of all these young people…what energy of hope and peace! Then I opened Kevin Shorner Johnson’s youtube and the amazement continued…mostly because of our relationship to Kevin and seeing what he is creating…I want to be part of that drumming group and peacemaking! Kevin is a living example of what intention, courage, commitment, and visioning can do! Finally, I opened the youtube of Jenna Rainey teaching how to use watercolors to paint 10 “simple” wild flowers. Thank you for your gifts of healing, wisdom, creativity, and generosity in sharing these ideas. I yearn to somehow recreate my choice of how to enjoy each hour…and all three of these examples once again remind me of nourishing those parts that lie fallow. For me, solitude is the first step. On this St. Patrick’s Day, the blessing of “May the road rise to meet you.” lies beneath your offering. In gratitude, Cath
Thank-you, Dear Catherine! I am always greatly honored and humbled when my sharing touches another deeply. We are so blessed to have worked with Kevin and to witness his amazing journey! Yes, creation, smiles, and drumming… Several years ago, I invested in an 18″ hand held Hoop Drum (Moose hide head) from Living Drums. I listened to random videos of various Native American drums. This deeply resonant instrument speaks to and vibrates my whole being, particularly when striving for triple forte drumming! When someone is outside, they can hear me drumming from inside the house. I take it down to the pond on lovely warm days. The very day I got it, I took it to the pond, then later texted James to tell him about it. He texted, “Cool”, in his very last text response on my phone……ah… Perhaps we could start our own drumming group? Linda
I like the idea of starting a drumming group!Ten years ago I was in touch with Fonsiba Koster about returning to Greenfield for a residency. The WVC received a community grant years ago which brought her for 5 days in the summer. She met with children/ adults, families in the mornings at the teen center ( the WCC was not restored yet) which used to be in the vacated Grfld Lumber Bldg and in the afternoons she gathered people outside at the fair…so it was all about diversty. I talked to Deb Houghtaling about her being at the HAW farm for a pizza night too.
But having a drumming class at the WCC with her starting it would be fabulous. She’d love it too. Maybe we could collaborate w/ ISU extension. Will see if I’m meant to lead this effort…discernment! I must find a drum!