Orrery by Dynamic Designs (click on link to left for actual simulation)
Exploratorium has an excellent site that delves into the science of music, with online exhibits, and videos, looking for answers to such questions as “Why do I hear the bass from my neighbor’s stereo, but not the treble?” and “Why does some music give me goose bumps?” For an answer to that last question, I need look no further than this vibrant TED talk given by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, about the transformative power of classical music and one-buttock playing!
And here is the wonderful Bobby Mcferrin demonstrating the universal power of music by playing an audience like a cheap piano!
(demonstration of the pentatonic scale - this is great!)
Michael Blake is a musician who has taken the musical scale and used it to interpret Pi to 31 decimal places in What Pi Sounds Like while the ever infectious Vi Hart has a great video that explores Twelve Tone composition or dodecaphony.
What Pi Sounds Like by Michael Blake
Vi Hart explores Twelve Tone composition or dodecaphony.
Of course much great music has been inspired by astronomy and space. From David Bowie’s Space Oddity has never been more spine tingling than when performed by Commander Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station.
John Cage wrote his Atlas Eclipticalis by placing note paper on a star atlas and letting the arrangement of the stars determine the pattern of notes. Not sure I like the results but an interesting experiment nonetheless.
Favored is Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 2 called Copernican. Written to celebrate 500 years since he great astronomers birth, it includes words taken from his great book De Revolucionibus.
Or the Peter Eötvös piece Cosmos which includes comets and asteroids an ends “a quarter of a second before the next big bang.”
Or best of all Antonin Dvorak’s Song to the Moon from Rusalka surely one of the most beautiful arias ever written.
Its been a long long time since I was five years old.