Heavens in harmony

September 4, 1998

THE ethereal music that early astronomers used to express their discoveries will be heard in London this weekend.

Allan Chapman, science historian at Oxford University, said: "The music of the spheres, from Pythagoras and Plato in the ancient world, down to the disciples of Sir Isaac Newton, expressed a fascination with a celestial geometry wherein the orbits, distances and motions of the seven planets were seen to operate within sequences that mirrored those of the musical scale."

Mediaeval Jews, Muslims and Christians were all enchanted by the idea that God had created a perfect natural scale so that the whole of creation resonated in a glorious harmony. "It is unfortunate that in our own time arts and sciences have drifted apart," said Dr Chapman.

l "The musick of the spheres: astronomy and the heavenly harmony," Royal Festival Hall, Sep 5.

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