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BS: In What Key is the Universe?

The Pooka 17 Mar 02 - 04:16 PM
InOBU 17 Mar 02 - 04:18 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 02 - 04:39 PM
katlaughing 17 Mar 02 - 04:40 PM
khandu 17 Mar 02 - 04:41 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 02 - 04:41 PM
Gareth 17 Mar 02 - 04:46 PM
Ebbie 17 Mar 02 - 04:56 PM
CapriUni 17 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM
Philibuster 17 Mar 02 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 17 Mar 02 - 05:45 PM
Rolfyboy6 17 Mar 02 - 06:27 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Mar 02 - 06:30 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 02 - 06:32 PM
Kenny B (inactive) 17 Mar 02 - 06:36 PM
katlaughing 17 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM
The Pooka 17 Mar 02 - 07:43 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 02 - 08:22 PM
RichM 17 Mar 02 - 09:37 PM
Giac 17 Mar 02 - 09:49 PM
Bert 17 Mar 02 - 10:39 PM
wysiwyg 18 Mar 02 - 01:28 AM
The Pooka 18 Mar 02 - 02:07 AM
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Subject: In What Key is the Universe?
From: The Pooka
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:16 PM

This venture is inspired by the recent "Off-Topic Threads" thread, in conjunction with various Scientific threads such as "What Color is the Universe?"

It seems that a connection between at least some Political subjects, and folk music, is recognized by quite a few Mudcatters. If so, then politics aren't necessarily, or completely, off-topic.

But Physics, oy, dot's anudder story. For on-topicality, science is a challenge. For *me*, science is *always* a challenge anyway, which I am wise to decline.

Unwisely, therefore, I seek a Grand Unification Theory: Music and Physics are One. Now just bear with me here. Yes I've read---OKOK, scanned---the "What DO Physicists Really Think About?" thread of a year ago. It addresses this in a way; but I'd like to try again, from (I *think*?) a slightly different angle.

I am neither a scientist nor a musicmaker. I'm a civilian. With those impressive credentials, my question---to the 'Catphysicists and to the 'Catmusicians (especially the Fiddlers, perhaps :)---is this:


Can Superstring theory legitimately be taken as suggesting, either metaphorically *or literally*, that all material existence is *truly* a Music of the Spheres?


To wit: in his 1994 (dated, I grant) book "Hyperspace", Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics, City College, City University of New York, writes (in mere language, I grant also---wordpictures, crudely drawn from the Pure Mathematics for the lay readership & thus losing much, maybe everything? in the translation)(emphases added):

"...think of a violin string, which can vibrate at different frequencies, creating musical notes like A, B and C. The only modes that can survive on the string are those that vanish at the endpoint of the violin string (because it is bolted down at the ends) and undulate an integral number of times between the endpoints. In principle, the string can vibrate at any of an infinite number of different frequencies. We know that the notes themselves are not fundamental. The note A is no more fundamental than the note B. However, what is fundamental is the string iself. There is no need to study each note in isolation of the others. By understanding how a violin string vibrates, we immediately understand the properties of an infinite number of musical notes.

"Likewise, the particles of the universe are not, by themselves, fundamental. An electron is no more fundamental than a neutrino. They appear to be fundamental only because our microscopes are not powerful enough to reveal their structure. According to string theory, if we could somehow magnify a point particle, we would actually see a *small vibrating string*. In fact, according to this theory, **matter is nothing but the harmonies created by this vibrating string.** Since there are an infinite number of harmonies that can be composed for the violin, there are an infinite number of forms of matter that can be constructed out of vibrating strings. This explains the richness of the particles in nature. Likewise, the laws of physics can be compared to the laws of harmony allowed on the string. **The universe itself, composed of countless vibrating strings, would then be comparable to a symphony.**"

Well. I'd like to think it comparable to the divine folkmusic: God's Jigs & Reels. But mind you now, this guy is not a wooo-eee New Age Philosophe. He is a leading theoretical physicist and specialist on Superstring Theory. And he is saying that at bottom, *all matter*---including Us---may literally be (not "be like"; but BE): Vibrations. Harmonies.

(I gather that Superstrings are now being subsumed as a subcategory under the ever-evolving Theory of Everything. There's something called P-branes. I always thought that was Me. Also I suppose this may come around to the question of, Where do Strings leave the poor pipers, tinwhistlers & bodhrain beaters. But such quibbles aside: what say ye all? Can we make anything of this? Is it worth the try?)


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: InOBU
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:18 PM

G wiz. Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:39 PM

Monkey?


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:40 PM

Pooka, my brother wrote a couple of small books about this. He is a classical composer. I'll see if I can dig up some relevant bits and post them for you. Ah, rather than retype it all, please see this message: CLick Here


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: khandu
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:41 PM

While doing some heavy amphetamines in the early 70's, I believed that I heard the music of the universe. In the stoic beauty of the stars and planets, I heard Jethro Tull playing "Thick as a Brick", which I believe he plays it in "F".

khandu


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:41 PM

To figure out the key you need to know how the piece ends. How does the universe end?


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Gareth
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:46 PM

Hmmm ! If the expanding universe theory still hold me water then I think we will have to make allowances for the dopler shift on any tone or colour.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:56 PM

Maybe, just as there is in blood a 'universal' type, there is also a universal key that is not yet understood? I hypothesize that the reason we resonate so strongly to harmonies in music is that nature is harmonious in itself, that we're just going 'home', so to speak.

Beyond that, Ise lost.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM

That's a rather nice place to be lost in, though, Ebbie. :-)

But I perfer to go at it from a different angle. If each of us is a microcosm of the Whole, then we should be able to find the answer if we look (ahem -- listen) within ourselves.

Do a little meditation, and when you reach that Still Point, just hum -- let a sound rise out of you with your breath. What key are you in?


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Philibuster
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 05:34 PM

Who says it's in a key at all? =P

Keys as we know them are only relevant in a 12-tone scale. In order to get that infinite number of notes off the violin string, you have to totally ignore the 12-tone chromatic scale. Take a look at eastern music, where sharps and flats and keys are just plain moot. Intervals of 1/3 of a second are common (even 1/4 and 1/8 tones aren't unheard of). Thats why the frets on a sitar are moveable.

Or perhaps it's 12 tone, but serial. Or 19 tone. Or maybe it's fractal. Or perhaps the chords are non-tertiary, to say, based off fourths and fiths instead of thirds and sixths. =P

Check out these sites for some non keyed weirdness.
http://eceserv0.ece.wisc.edu/~sethares/xentone.html
http://eceserv0.ece.wisc.edu/~sethares/otherperson/sierpinski.html

William Sethares also wrote a little book on alternate tunings that you can grab for free somewhere on that site.

Have fun. =P


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 05:45 PM

I did it and I am an A below middle C. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 06:27 PM

The Universe is in Ab, which is why no one gets all the way through it.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 06:30 PM

Finding the key of the Universe is an ambitious task, but it should be possible, theoretically, to ascertain the key of the solar system, or at least the chord which is being played by the planets as they sweep out their paths round the Sun, if we take the mean distance of Pluto from the Sun as the tonic note.

My hunch is that it will turn out to be one of these weird jazz chords which only M.Ted has ever heard of ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 06:32 PM

My hunch is that it'll turn out to be a minor key.

After all, the universe is fundamentally unhappy.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Kenny B (inactive)
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 06:36 PM

Dear Pooka

The key to the answer to the question " What key is the Universe in" will be included in the penultimate edition of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

The answer is as stated in a previous thread. Is based on the "string theory" and on the assumption that the key is being played on a stringed instrument

The answer to the question " How long is a piece of string or even a Mudcat thread" can be determined by the approximation

L= 2(1/2 L) where L is the length of the piece of string in question .
This of course is between the limits of zero and infinity, and as infinity has never been satisfactorily measured it can be assumed to be approximately equal to the answer to the equation X= 42x I/42. Where I is infinity and 42 is the meaning of life.
When the meaning of life is found and defined, it will automatically be changed by the creator of the rain cycle to something completely different
The periodic table showing starting and finishing times of the rain cycle can be found in the addendum to edition of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy before the penultimate edition. This is due to be published just before hell frezes over
In short, and quite simply, the Key in which the Universe is in, depends on the chosen position of the fickle finger fate, placed on the galactic fingerboard, between any two chosen frets on the previously mentioned string.
The tuning of the string is optional and may change with the temperature and humidity at that time and whether or not atmospheric pressure is present.
This theory cannot be directly applied to brasswind, woodwind or percussive mediums
I hope this answers your question satisfactorily or at least guides you in the right direction.
Have I ever lied to you before?

PS the key can be measured using a backlit electronic tuner using solar powered batteries, but only in a solar system.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM

"The entire scheme of the solar system can be represented with earthly music and put on recordings to listen to! One such recording is the "Planetary Songs" of Johannes Kepler. As we all know, the planets revolve around the Sun in elipses, and vary in speed at perihelion (nearest to the Sun) and aphelion (furthest from the Sun). Kepler compared each(then known) planet's angular velocity at perihelion and aphelion and equated this ratio to a musical interval. "Sliding scales" occur within the extremes of these ratios. For example, Saturn takes 29 1/2 years to go up and down a musical major third. Kepler actually noted all the intervals each planet "intones" and expressed them in 17th century musical notation. These transcendent planetary songs have been accelerated so that humans can hear them in physical sound. One recording is "Harmony of the World", LP 1571, Yale University of Music.

"Though the earthly music is not the same vibration as the tones produced by the actual planets in the aethers, yet such music corresponds as a lower (or higher in some cases) harmonic. In a modern table of the planets' angular velocities as seen from the Sun, the tones generated by all the planets,including Pluto, is given by Dr. Joscelyn Godwin. Of 74 tones produced from the perihelion-aphelion intervals, he points out that 58 belong to the major triad CEG in the modern Western key of C! He says that a belief in Cosmic harmony is justified by this table alone!"

copyright 1987 & 1991 by Delton Lorenzo Hudson


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: The Pooka
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 07:43 PM

Woo hoo! Good stuff.

Thank you, katlaughing.

Kenny B, No you have never lied to me, before. :) And thank YOU -- LOL! -- for terrific explanation, with equations! But since evidently I missed it in the previous thread, my abashed apologies for this recycling. (Still fun though. For me; I hope for others.)

Gareth, the expanding universe is not only holding its water better than I am mine, but is now reported by the Dopplergangers to be *increasing its rate* of expansion. (It's them Shifty Reds, I'm tellin' yez...) Which means that when the Fire is out and the Moon is down, it will all definitely end in Ice, Guest. No tone, no color, no galaxies, no particles, no black holes even (they evaporate). Thanks for Nothing. When this happens, I'm filin' a petition, by God. But there's hope that it's not true: I read it in Time Magazine.

Will some more Physicists not beam in? This Thread has no Strings attached. What about music in the 10 or 11 or 26 dimensions required by the theory? / But some of our scientists may still be rolled up in the pubs this St. Paddy's, drinkin' the oul' Higgsboson Stout an' charmin' th' quarks with their blarney. Ah but the night is young. We'll hear from 'em.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 08:22 PM

actually it is not in a SINGLE KEY but two...

many of you may not be aware of them as they are beyond the A-G range

they are O & K!


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: RichM
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 09:37 PM

No, no--the universe is in the key of C.

No sharps, no flats.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Giac
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 09:49 PM

Of course it's a flat, and if we keep going the way we're headed, we're all gonna fall off.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 10:39 PM

LOL Giac.

It's kinda wonderful when different branches of mathematics and science come together, but we have to be really careful of reading too much into some things.

Poor old Pythagoras died a dissillusioned man because his proof that the square root of two was incommensurable, disproved all of his previous theories of numerology. And all the religious significance that he had assigned to his numerology theories were trashed.

The statement "Music and Physics are One" applies ONLY to the creation of music. Music is very physiological and subjective in it's interpretation by the human mind. The mathematical side of music is fairly simple to modern mathematicians and can be easily understood even by those who are tone deaf. The appreciation of music is far more complex and can only be truly understood by those who can feel it in their bones. They can do this without any mathematical knowledge whatsoever. They can do this because they know that a fifth in the equally tempered scale SOUND wrong. A mathematician though, can tell you exactly how far out it really is from a string stopped to a third of it's length without ever hearing it in the first place.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 01:28 AM

It is often in F; that suits me fine as I think I am, too, essentially. But then it modulates and sometimes I don't go with it. Or when it says "Take it!" I don't always realize it's my turn to solo.

When it goes to the Key of R I really get messed up because I can't stay in that key for long.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: In What Key is the Universe?
From: The Pooka
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 02:07 AM

Bert, Thanks.

My "Music & Physics Are One" was a more-or-less tongue-in-cheek (hyphenation-run-wild, here) wordplay on the notion of a Grand Unification Theory.

However---y'know, since you mention it :) --- "Music is very physiological and subjective in it's interpretation by the human mind": Yes. But if, as per string theory, our *physiology*, like all other matter, is *itself*, at its roots, naught but harmonic vibration---well, I dunno: Then What? See, these Strings guys really mean it: Stuff ain't what we think it is. Reality is, in a very real sense, unreal. Matter is Illusory. Harmonies R Us. And they say they've got the mathematics to prove it. Provided you do the equations in 26 dimensions collapsed down to 10, and most of *them* "rolled up" into a torus, whatever *that* is. Not that I would read too much into such things. :)


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Mudcat time: 21 September 5:53 AM EDT

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