Saturday, November 24, 2007 By Maryam
From Greg Fox:
This is my attempt at a naturalistic, astronomical approach to the "Harmony of the Spheres".
The overwhelming majority of historical examples take a broadly astrological or mythological view of the solar system.
My approach in "Carmen of the Spheres" is to try to literally hear the planets as they orbit the sun. Obviously 365.25 days is a good deal slower than the average sound wave!! However there is a wonderful principle in acoustics, at the very least for humans, and that is that when you double the speed of the wave, the "flavour" of the pitch remains the same. The implications of this are obvious for things like "octaves" - an F# is an F# is an F#. However we can only hear certain frequencies - broadly speaking something like 50hz (ie. a pressure wave hitting the ear drum 50 times per second) up to (depending on age and exposure to loud noise!) around 5000hz, perhaps higher. Meaningful musical inflections are available for much of this range to differing extents, with chordal harmony being possible from approximately 300hz up to approximately 2000hz. Once the trick of doubling the frequency takes the sound-wave outside what we humans can hear, we have to take nature's word for it that an F# is still an F#, but there's no reason to suppose that it's not equally true. Therefore if you have the planitary orbital period enough times, you should find the "pitch" of a planet orbiting the sun (or rather that pitch raised several (in the region of 36 to 40) octaves!!
(Obviously this metaphor has limits: doubtless planets do not orbit with ABSOLUTE reliability, though perhaps the 'errors' in orbital period become "small enough" once the wave has been sufficiently sped up!!)
To download the file, visit : CARMEN OF THE SPHERES
Powered by ScribeFire.