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Sternenrest
‘stars don't make music’
Music by Willem Boogman | www.willemboogman.nl


GLAS (based on the star HD 129929) occupies a central position in Sternenrest. Its music is modeled on the measurement data and results of the research into the star HD 129929, as formulated by Conny Aerts in the scientific magazine Science (2003). The measurement data includes six star frequencies and details about the star’s various rotation layers and rotation speeds. Thanks to the possibilities inherent in the Wave Field Synthesis loudspeaker system (192 loudspeakers and 8 subwoofers), the audience can imagine itself inside the star, from which position the sound waves and sound movements of the star can be followed. This movement deals with the star’s development from her first light until the point that she explodes (supernova). The discovery in 2006 that acoustic sound plays a decisive role in a star’s supernova phase also played a part in the music’s development.

The preceding part, Seeds of Structure, can be regarded as a musical reverie at twilight, as the stars begin to appear in the night sky. But the surface of this piece also reflects the formation of the universe and the birth of a star, in which sound plays an important role, as hypotheses and recent discoveries in cosmology and astronomy have shown.

In the development of the music I have followed the hypothesis that the distribution of matter in the cosmos is not random: stars and galaxies emerge in an essentially empty universe on the edges of vastly inflated and congealed sound waves that were already present in the primeval soup just after the Big Bang. These sound waves were imprinted as minuscule ripples in the otherwise smooth cosmic microwave background radiation. They act as the seeds of large-scale structures in the universe such as galaxies. In this part of Sternenrest small and large-scale structures form a close relationship with each other.

Finally, out of a nebulous environment a star is formed.

The last part, entitled Liminale, starts just after the ‘explosion’ of the star, in which her core is ‘kicked out’ and her remnants gradually disperse throughout the universe. The core continues to exist as a pulsar, gets a little sister, whereby a double-pulsar system is formed. The two pulsars spiral slowly towards each other, finally coalescing to form a black hole.

The music here is based on the data of the double-pulsar system PSR J0737-3039.

All these developments take place on a large scale in the electronic music, above the heads of the six musicians. The ensemble is spatially positioned and plays chords which are constantly changing in colour, thus completing a cycle which represents the alternation of day and night here on earth – but then earth as seen from space, almost transparent and vulnerable.

The composition ends with the break of day, as it were.


Performance data: Read more about the score, the parts, scoring, performers and collaborators.

Source data: pdf-file