Space-themed music

Space-themed music

Space-Themed Music is any music, from any genre or style, with lyrics or titles relating to outer space or space travel.

Songs or other musical forms influenced by the concept of outer space have appeared in music throughout history, both in instrumental and vocal pieces with lyrics. As early as the Ancient Greece, Pythagoras believed in something called the "harmony of the spheres". He believed that since planets and the stars all moved in the universe according to mathematical equations that these mathematical equations could be translated into musical notes and thus produce a symphony. [cite book|title=Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching, And Influence|last= Riedweg |first= Christoph |year=2005|publisher=Cornell University Press|pages=pp 29, 30, 116|isbn= 0801442400] This idea of was explored further throughout Western history under the theories of Musica universalis. A couple more recent and widely different examples are The Planets by Gustav Holst, and Space Oddity by David Bowie. Outer space also appears as a theme in "Space-Age" retro pop music, such as Stereolab's Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music.

Music about outer space attracts entusiastic listeners from all walks of life. Some have created web pages to share their interests. NASA, JPL, and the US Governmental Centennial of Flight Commission even have a webpages showcasing and discussing music about outer space. [http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/dec/HQ_03396_Labelle.html ASA Song Soars To Grammy Nomination] [http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/press-releases-00/20001215-sn-a.cfm "Sounds" of Outer Space Near Jupiter Now Online - JPL/NASA website] [http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Social/music/SH16.htm Aviation and Space Music - U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission]

Music about outer space

In 1958, Karl-Birger Blomdahl composed an opera Aniara to a libretto by Erik Lindegren based on the poem Aniara by Harry Martinson, a tragedy set aboard a space ship.

The Japanese musician Isao Tomita has produced many albums with space-based themes, such as "The Planets" (1976), his version of Holst's suite; "Kosmos" (1978); "Bermuda Triangle" (1979); "Dawn Chorus (Canon of the Three Stars)" (1984); "Space Walk - Impressions Of An Astronaut" (compilation, 1984); "Mind of the Universe - Live at Linz" (1985); "Back to the Earth - Live in New York" (1988); and "Nasca Fantasy" (supporting Kodo, 1994).

The Vangelis album Albedo 0.39 (1976) is entirely devoted to space, while a segment of Heaven and Hell (1975) was used as the theme to the PBS television series "" by Carl Sagan. His work "Mythodea: Music for NASA's Mars Odyssey Mission" is reflective of his interest in space exploration. [ [http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/spotlight/vangelis01.html NASA Spotlight on Vangelis music for Mars Odyssey Mission] ]

Mike Oldfield's 1994 album The Songs of Distant Earth was based on Arthur C. Clarke's SF novel "Songs of Distant Earth". Pop songs also mention outer space, such as Chris de Burgh's "A Spaceman Came Travelling", the Bonzo Dog Band's "I'm the Urban Spaceman", David Bowie's "Space Oddity", Elton John's "Rocket Man" and Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'".

Several albums have featured music inspired by the Apollo space program. In 1983, Brian Eno created the album "" with his his brother Roger Eno and producer/recording artist Daniel Lanois. [cite book|last=Prendergast|first=Mark| year= 2000|title=The Ambient Century: From Mahler to Trance - the Evolution of Sound in the Electronic Age|publisher=Bloomsbury Publishing, New York|pages= 125|isbn= 1582341346] On The Orb's 1991 two-disc debut album, "Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld", disc one of features an ambient musical simulation of the Apollo 11 moon journey, including excerpts of NASA recordings of the radio conversations between Mission Control and the astronauts in space. Sampled recordings of radio communications from another NASA moon mission, Apollo 13, are featured prominently in recording artist Joe Weinick's song "Apollo 13" on the 2005 Sequoia Groove album "Hotel Tara". In the recording, the words of the astronauts can clearly be heard, announcing "Houston, we have a problem," regarding the explosion that damaged the Service Module of the spacecraft, causing the crew to use the Lunar Module as a lifeboat before returning safely to Earth.

The filk anthology albums Minus Ten and Counting (1983) and To Touch the Stars (2003) celebrate and promote the exploration of outer space.

Author and classical music critic David Hurwitz describes Joseph Haydn's choral and chamber orchestra piece, "The Creation", composed in 1798, as space music, both in the sense of the sound of the music, ("a genuine piece of 'space music' featuring softly pulsating high violins and winds above low cellos and basses, with nothing at all in the middle ... The space music gradually drifts towards a return to the movement's opening gesture ... "); and in the manner of its composition, relating that Haydn conceived "The Creation" after discussing music and astronomy with William Herschel, oboist and astronomer (discoverer of the planet Uranus).cite book | last = Hurwitz | first = David | title = Exploring Haydn: A Listener's Guide to Music's Boldest Innovator | year = 2005 | publisher = Hal Leonard | isbn = 1574671162 | series = Amadeus Press Unlocking the Masters Series | pages = 78-81]

Another band to use space as musical insperation is the Christian "Astro-Rock" group
Brave Saint Saturn whose three albums (So Far from Home, The Light of Things Hoped For, and upcoming Anti-Meridian) form a trilogy chronicling the journey of the fictional spaceship the USS Gloria on a trip to survey Saturn's moons. The music uses space narratives, lingo, samples and quotes to portray the journey.

oundtracks for movies and TV shows about outer space

Soundtracks of Science Fiction movies and TV & radio series often feature music associated with outer space, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf, Mike Oldfield's "The X-Files" movie soundtrack, Moonraker and others.

Music played in planetariums and observatories

Many forms of music are used Observatory and Planetarium shows, particularly genres such as Electronic music, classical music, Space music, and Space rock. [ [http://www.hobbyspace.com/Music/music3.html Enthusiast's website with detailed information about music for Planetariums and generally about outer space] ] Some artists, such as Geodesium, specialize in creating custom music for Planetariums.

During the 1970s, the OmniMax movie system (now known as IMAX Dome) was conceived to operate on planetarium screens. More recently, some planetariums have re-branded themselves as "dome theaters", with broader offerings including wide-screen or "wraparound" films, fulldome video, and laser shows that combine music with laser-drawn patterns.

Music made with sounds of outer space

Energy sources in the atmosphere, such as lightning, can produce sounds ("sferics", "tweeks", and "whistlers") in the very low frequency (VLF) radio band. [ [http://www.spaceweather.com/glossary/inspire.html space weather glossary sounds information] ] [ [http://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/inspire/advanced.html NASA space-sound poetry page] ]

Objects in space - the Sun, planets, stars, quasars, pulsars, galaxies, and active galaxies - all produce signals that, if received (usually through radio astronomy dishes and processed), can be used by a musician as the basis for any kind of composition imaginable. [ [http://www.hobbyspace.com/Music/music3.html#Natural here Hobbysapce article on space sounds used in music] ]

Scientists with an interest in space-based sounds include:
* [http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/space-audio/index.html Don Gurnett] .
* [http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/mcgreevy/ Stephen P. McGreevy] .
* Alexander Kosovichev, a Stanford scientist whose researches into the sun's oscillations (and who [http://quake.stanford.edu/~sasha/SOUNDS/sounds.html uploaded the sounds] to the net) encouraged Stephen Taylor (see below) to create his album.
* Dr. Fiorella Terenzi has created several works that use sounds derived from celestial radio signals [http://www.fiorella.com/ homepage] , [http://www.space.com/sciencefiction/terenzi_profile_991223.html "Space.com" entry] .
* NASA produced a CD in 1992 from Voyager 1 & 2 recordings of electromagnetic fields processed with digital sampling techniques. [ [http://www.sleepbot.com/ambience/album/planets.html NASA Voyager CD] ] [ [http://www.kingmaker.net/SymphPl.htm electromagnetic fields processed with digital sampling techniques] ] Artists/bands who have included such sounds in their works include:
* Terry Riley, along with the Kronos Quartet, in their album "Sun Rings", which used "sounds of the planets recorded by the Voyager mission on its journey to deep space" . [ [http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/space-audio/KronosSounds.html report on Voyager music by Kronos Quartet] ]
* Stephen Taylor, in the album "The Heart of the Sun". [ [http://solar-center.stanford.edu/news/music.html Stanford - Stephen Taylor album info] ]
* Robert Schroeder's album "Galaxie Cygnus-A" used interstellar noise from the distant galaxy in the title [ [http://www.thesmith.org.uk/music/mentors/trebor.html The Music of Robert Schroeder ] ] [ [http://www.ambientmusicguide.com/pages/S/schroeder.php AmbientMusicGuide.com - Robert Schroeder ] ] [ [http://www.discogs.com/release/739345 Robert Schröder - Galaxie Cygnus-A ] ]

External links

* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=930399 The Musical Sounds of Space - NPR Arts & Culture]
* [http://www.hobbyspace.com/Music/index.html Music Space - Listening to the cosmos ...]
* [http://www.projo.com/music/content/wk-kronos_11-02-06_8J2E73F.278876a.html From outer space, music of peace - Prodence Journal]
* [http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/nasa_music_out_of_this_world NASA Music Out of this World]
* [http://www2.jsonline.com:80/news/metro/may01/spacjam08050701a.asp Outer space as a muse Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

References


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