Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vibrating Strings

Saturn in Libra
A Marriage Between Science and Art
"Science has shown that song lies at the core of life."
So say the researchers in a very interesting documentary I just discovered called The Music Instinct - Science and Song. Brian Greene, a physicist at Columbia University has this to say:
"You can phrase a lot of interesting phenomena in the universe in terms of music. For instance, I work in a field called string theory which is an approach to describing the fundamental constituents of matter. It says that inside all particles of matter is a little tiny string that vibrates sort of like a violin string would vibrate and the equation that we use to explain this little string is very close in structure to the equation we use for the violin.
In a sense what we're saying is that, if string theory is correct, at the heart of matter is music.
The sounds of the universe are at too low a frequency to be picked up by the human ear. Even black holes have pitches. One is a b flat but it's 57 octaves below any b flat we could hear.
It's all a matter of the same underlying phenomenon -- vibration. And vibration is so apparent in the cosmos that you can perceive the underlying thread."
The film was fascinating, an in depth look at music from an unusual perspective and out of the ordinary lab experiments. The consensus of opinion at the conclusion was that music serves the purpose of building group cohesion to align people's brain states. To synchronize, for some reason not stated. It feels good, several mentioned. Or protects the species. I have my own theories about music's functions and it most assuredly is an interesting subject.
With Saturn in Libra for a couple of years I'm looking forward to some engaging exchanges along these lines. I'm a big fan of physics.