Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 79
Did you know?
here has long been a
fascination with the con-
nection between the universe
and music. In a theory known
as the "Harmony of the Spheres," the
Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras proposed that the
sun, moon, and planets put out their
own unique sounds based on their orbits, that their movements can be explained in math, and that these math
equations relate to intervals in music.
The ancient Greek philosophers suggested that the quality of life on Earth
reflects the character of sounds from
outer space. These sounds are not
heard by the human ear.
Scientists are now using a special
space telescope to study the age of
stars through sound. Sound affects
the brightness of the stars as sound
waves bounce inside them. The scientists refer to this as astroseismology,
or "the music of the stars." As with
musical instruments, the lower the
pitch, the bigger the star. The sounds
are thousands of times lower than we
Watch for more on the relationships
between music and the universe
in a future issue of Keyboard Kids'
You probably spend some time
during summer vacation looking up
at the night sky, exploring the planets
and stars. Did you know that many
composers have been inspired to write
compositions based on the galaxies?
Here are some of our
Cosmos for Two Pianos
The sounds describe a Big Bang,
comets, asteroid, meteorites.
Composed for piano. Includes a
section called Spiral Galaxy, in which
July 7, 1860
the music is written in a spiral shape.
George F. Handel
"Total Eclipse" from Samson
Describes Samson going blind with
an eclipse of the sun.
Written for soprano, clarinet, and
piano, words by the composer.
The New Moon in the Old
Moon's Arms Inspired by
the composer's visit to the
Anasazi Indian ruins in Arizona.
Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
Most people think of Mozart's Symphony #41, called "Jupiter," when
thinking about music relating to the
planets. But Mozart didn't choose the
nickname himself. The "Jupiter" nickname is believed to have come from
Johann Peter Salomon, a composer,
violinist, and impresario.*
*Impresario: A person who organizes
and often finances concerts, plays, or
Check out these pieces written
for students, also inspired by the
* Karen Tanaka
"Star Song" from The Zoo in the
* Nancy and Randall Faber
Storms on Saturn (Hal Leonard)
* Dennis Alexander
* Italo Taranta
A Starry Night (Hal Leonard)
* Nancy Telfer
The Silent Moon and The Milky
Way (Frederick Harris)
July 27, 1867
August 22, 1862
had great influence
period of music.
August 25, 1918
A Musical Joke
Q. Which is the most musical
of the planets?
A. Neptune! (Nep-tune)
Listen to The Planets,
a suite for orchestra by
Gustav Holst. The Planets
includes a movement titled
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