Universal Density: A musical representation of astronomical objects and concepts
Universal Density is a musical composition for digital electronic media. It takes the listener on a rapid tour of the universe that starts in the far away Southern Local supervoid and abruptly ends at the edge of our Solar system. Various astronomical structures along the way are represented by shifting arrangements of sounds. Specific sets of sounds represent each structure's size, relative orientation to Earth, density, temperature, and electromagnetic content, and the character of and prominence of these sets shift to reflect the varying content of the astronomical structures. Ultimately, Universal Density is a detailed system of musical references that seeks to facilitate a richer understanding of the universe by provoking both an intellectual and an emotional reaction to information about the astronomical environments that cradle the Earth.
Universal Density also includes two visual components: a graphic score and a short film. The graphic score provides visual confirmation of interactions between musical symbols; it is a critical tool for understanding the flow of information through the entire musical composition. The film presents a collection of astronomical photography from NASA that has been animated by Mandi Hart. While it is not essential to the music, the film is a particularly inspirational supplement to the musical presentation and re-enforces Universal Density 's ultimate goal of inspiring the audience to enrich their understanding of the space outside our solar system.
Musical examples mentioned in the text externally accompany the thesis as MP3 files. The complete graphic score and the collection of astronomical photography comprising the film are included as appendices in this thesis. The film integrating Universal Density 's audio and the animated photography externally accompanies the thesis as a Quicktime movie file.