Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Music Box Made of Planets

"Natural" music doesn't often sound very musical -- except once in a blue moon. Here's some that does. This example of "natural" music works, and even makes a point. The astronomer Alex Parker put this together by assigning different tones to six different planets observed circling around a distant star (the Kepler-11 system), as explained on the YouTube notes:
Here, I’ve taken each transit seen by the observatory and assigned a pitch and volume to it. The pitch (note) is determined by the planet’s distance from its star (closer=higher), and they are drawn from a minor 11 chord. The volume is determined by the size of the planet (larger=louder).
Even my untrained ear can tell the tones never converge or coincide, they keep plinking along like raindrops, and so this music shows that the planets never come together into "orbital resonance". It's just doing it with music rather than numbers. Or numbers as music, that's more like it. I think someone should expand this and maybe combine it with DNA music. (A challenge for the next generation of composers!)

No comments: