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The Sun in Music-- Stanford Solar Center
The Sun in Music

Samson slaying a lion
Photo courtesy wikipedia

total solar eclipse
Photo (c) 1998 by Andreas Gada & Jerry Lodriguss; used with permission

Samson, whose name means "man of the Sun", is a biblical character mentioned in the Book of Judges. According to the account, Samson was given supernatural strength by God so he could combat his enemies and perform herioc feats. In George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Samson", the strong-man sings a lament about the loss of his eyes by the Philistines, comparing his fate to that of a total solar eclipse:
	Total eclipse! No sun, no moon!
	All dark amidst the blaze of noon!
	Oh, glorious light! No cheering ray
	To glad me eyse with welcome day!
	Why thus depriv'd Thy prime decree?
	Sun, moon, and stars are dark to me!
Handel's Samson Oratorio
About the Samson Oratorio
About the biblical figure Samson

Yuval Avital Composer and artist Yuval Avital bridges the gap between science and art by translating the imagery and energy of astronomical objects into sounds, compositional structure, and music.

In addition to incorporating Alexander Kosovichev's Sounds of the Sun, Avital also uses sonic translations of Jupiter, Saturn, and Black holes (from Philippe Zarka, Observatoire de Paris)) and the NASA historical missions sound archives.

Watch Unfolding Space, a concerto for guitar, live electronics, visuals, and sonic translations of cosmic space.

Chromatics band.

The Sun Song
The "Chromatics" is a unique, high-energy, a-capella vocal band that delights audiences across the country. Originally formed in 1993 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Chromies wrote and produced their astronomically correct songs, a project they call AstroCappella. "The Sun Song" is one of them.

Watch the Video

Image Source:

Why Does the Sun Shine?

Why Does the Sun Shine? ("The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas")
Why Does the Sun Really Shine? ("The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma")

They Might Be Giants is an American alternative music group from Brooklyn, New York. Above are videos of two songs from their educational album Here Comes Science

Dr. Alan Marsher is another astronomy professor, from Boston University, who writes and performs his own "science nerd" songs. Check him out at: Hear Alan Marsher

Coronal mass ejection- LASCO

The SolarDuo Project
Koray Tahiroglu and Joni Lyytikainen use self-built solar panel instruments in performances that include soundscapes from solar data and videos from SOHO. The website features videos of previous concerts.

Image Credit: SOHO/LASCO (ESA & NASA)

Sounds of the Sun
The Singing Sun: Listen to the Sun sing it's own rhythmic and powerful melody.
Solar Music Based on Solar Data Thorbjoern Lausten, a Danish artist, has converted solar data to both visual imagery and sound. See and hear his work at: Data from Two Suncycles. (Enter the website, then click on the Sound and Video links.)
Aurora seen from space.

Dance of the Auroras
A performance featuring music, dance, images, and movies produced by the Dance Construction Company

Watch a Video Clip

Image Credit: NASA

Sounds of Space

The Sounds of Space Project at UC Berkeley- A project that uses sonification, or the process of turning data into sounds. Read more about the project, listen to samples, and download a sonification application.

See also- UC Berkeley News Press Release- Space scientists find that solar wind becomes music in the right hands (4/20/06).

Mozart priests

Space Weather in Mozart Operas
The West Bay Opera's performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" included this scene featuring the Temple Priests in "The Kingdom of the Sun."

(Photo courtesy of Lucinda Surber)
heart of the sun
Shattering Suns Symphony
Here "The Heart of the Sun" -- central movement of Shattering Suns, a symphony written by Stephen Taylor, and inspired by images of celestial catastrophe. This movement represents a portrait of the Sun, an atomic furnace which contracts and expands as a living being breathes. The music is built on the breathing -- the sounds of the Sun, as recorded by SOI researchers -- and played by a synthesizer.

Christopher Reynolds and Urrealism
"We consider the cosmos and all that is in it to be a work of art. Urrealist practice deepens the experience of the natural world and we find this pleroma is just as much a form of inspiration and language as the art of humanity." Listen to Christopher Reynolds' cosmology- and solar-symbolism music, and read more about the urrealist thoughts at

"Astrophysicist and musician Dr. Fiorella Terenzi has a doctorate in physics from the University of Milan, has studied opera and composition, and taught math and physics to hundreds of students. In research at the Computer Audio Research Laboratory at the University of California San Diego, she developed techniques to convert radio waves from galaxies into sound - released on her CD "Music from the Galaxies" (Island Records). In lectures and performances, on television and at planetariums, Dr. Terenzi has combined science and art to awaken people to the universe around them."

spacesounds Space Sounds
You can listen to the sounds of the solar system and outer space on this website. The sounds they use for the Sun were developed by our group here at Stanford. To explore these, go to the website, clock on the "Spacesounds" title, then click on the Space Sounds Navigator. When the solar system image appears, click on the Sun.

image developed from DNA tranlsated by
            music Dramatic Artist Celebrates Connection between Music, DNA, and Light -- Bioheliosynthesis! Digital artist Brian LaRossa has creatively explored the relationship between human and solar energy by using music to translate DNA into light. His exquisite imagery unites the visual portion of a human chromosome with selected tones and hues into a light-based conceptual whole. According to LaRossa, the experience is comprised of precisely choreographed orbits of cycling color and related sound that, when blended together, create a meditative climate.
The Planets by Gustav Holst The Planets Align
In February 2015, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra performed The Planets by Gustav Holst, as a part of the Stanford Arts Institute project "Imagining the Universe". The performance included images of the solar system to accompany each movement and planet of the solar system. You can also view the production on Youtube.

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Image credits: Whirlpool Galaxy from NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
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