In tune with the Universe

220px-M82_Chandra_HST_SpitzerSome of you know me outside of Photos to Space, and some of you have even known me for many years now. If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes with me, you probably know of my enjoyment of several different genres of music, especially (and above all else) that of Pink Floyd.

In some circles, Pink Floyd is considered part of a sub-genre called “Space Rock”, which is a style that tends to have a futuristic sound and, in some cases, lyrics about astronomy and/or science fiction. Other groups thought to be in the same category are The Verve and Muse, amongst others.

But as I lean towards Floyd, and they’re likely the best known of the groups listed above, what are some examples of the music within the genre?

‘Astronomy Domine’ is a well-known example, from the album ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’, releaed in 1967, which also included ‘Interstellar Overdrive’. Their next album, ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’, contained the song ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’.

At this point, though, I must say this: I can write about this until my face falls off, but as this is about something that can’t be completely conveyed or explained in a blog post, it’s a good idea for you to find a way to listen to at least some of these examples to find out about it firsthand.

I mean, would you try to teach someone to drive without putting them behind the wheel? Some things must be experienced to be understood.

The beautiful part of music, though, is that it’s not exclusively man-made. The Universe itself has been found to make some rather interesting music of its own. Scientists have found ways to interpret things like planetary magnetic fields and radiation emissions into audible sounds.

That’s right – the Universe sings.

Want to hear it?

Voyager 1 recordings of plasma waves

Sounds of our Solar System

The Music of Space

What a Black Hole sounds like

You might find, though, if you listen to both the man-made and the natural music of the universe, that each brings the other to mind. Ultimately, music is made of resonant sounds that move in regular patterns, which is common to both forms.

This also explains why some “music” is really just noise (random, dissonant, annoying, irrational, and sometimes painful to hear).

But now that we know the Universe sings, it’s important that we listen.



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