Solar System symphony

Sunday January 22, 2012 Written by Luke

What do Bach's "Art of the Fugue", the planetary orbits of our Solar System, palindromes and the concept of infinity have in common? They've all been brought together in Daniel Starr-Tambor's mind-stretching "Mandala".

A tribute to Bach's more scientific musical explorations, "Mandala" is a 62 vigintillion (62 followed by 63 zeroes) note long palindromic composition. Starr-Tambor created it by assigning each of the nine planets in our Solar System a note along the harmonic scale, setting their start position to the moment of Bach's birth, and pressing play.

Left to unfurl of its own accord, the piece would take 532 septendecillion (532 followed by 54 zeroes) years to reach completion, long outlasting the life of our sun, the universe and even matter itself. A stunning synthesis of scientific method and high musicality, this is what the Solar System sounds like.

Image: La Brugere Map of the Solar System (1877)