“It's the end of an era, Mauro!” Giovanni said as he turned dials and flicked switches on the control panel. “Thirty years of broadcasting over at the flick of a switch. We've had a long run but most radio stations have migrated to the internet and we must follow them. It's crazy to think that since 1982 our station in Italy has been one of the most powerful transmitters on Earth with 8 Mega Watts of power and able to cross the Alps to reach Switzerland and possibly the nearest stars and beyond. One bonus is that we won't have to pay those big electricity bills anymore”
“Quite a thought,” replied Mauro, “thirty years of classical music being beamed out into space at the speed of light. I read somewhere that it takes light about four and a half years to travel from our nearest neighbouring star to us. From where we are in our galaxy it takes light 25,000 years to reach the centre of the galaxy and going in the opposite direction 25,000 years to reach the edge of our Milky Way galaxy. In theory, all our transmissions are on their way out into space for anyone with the means to pick up VHF radio to hear our planet's music..”
“Well from now on it won't be classical music beaming out into space, because, as far as I know, the last remaining high power VHFFM station is an American one broadcasting Pop, Heavy Metal Rock , Hip Hop and Rap music interspersed with news and adverts. From 2010 onward the American station will be the strongest radio signal reaching out to the stars. If anyone tunes into our frequency now, all they will hear is static.” Giovanni added.
“Yes, I think there is only one of those 'grandfathered' 6MW stations operating in the USA. They wouldn't be permitted now. I heard it said that the signal was so powerful that people nearby could hear the radio in their bed-springs and pots and pans.”
Giovanni laughed, “Radio is amazing. It's all around us. What we now call phones are really radios; and then there is WiFi and Bluetooth which also use radio signals. You know that since Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell first formulated the theory that, magnetism, electricity and light were all part of the same phenomenon and then Tesla and Marconi built practical radio devices, we have been unwittingly sending out messages into space from our little planet. Radio waves emanate outwards from a transmitter in an ever expanding sphere, at the speed of light and as they move outward the intensity drops exponentially. Never-the-less, even at huge distances the signal is still present, albeit faintly, and even after gallactic dust absorbs some of the signal it keeps on going - theoretically for all eternity.”
“Quite a thought, Giovani. Even though our station is no longer broadcasting our output is still out there travelling through space and time, possibly forever.”
I often look up at the night sky, and feel peace within when contemplating the immensity of the cosmos as it glitters and sparkles before my eyes. As the enormous firmament moves across the sky, I gaze at the stars for many hours and allow the beauty to fill my mind. The enormity of the Home Galaxy is difficult to comprehend and for some its vastness can be frightening, but for me it is full of infinite possibilities, never ending wonder and magnificence.
Within the Home Galaxy stargazers tell us that there are as many as four hundred billion stars and at least four hundred billion planets - perhaps billions more. Many of you will have wondered, as I have, if there was life on other worlds and if there was, what would it be like? Stargazers believe that the most likely candidate for an inhabited planet could be thirteen light rotas 1 distant but a possible life supporting planet around the star Solaris B has been identified at about six light rotas distant. Nearer Red Dwarf stars could also be possible candidates for supporting life. It is remarkable that for every star that can be seen in the night sky with normal vision there are three red dwarf stars that can only be seen when we use our red eyes. Stargazers think that six in every one hundred red dwarf stars could have life supporting planets orbiting them. In red eyes the cosmos pulses and dances with astonishing beauty and fills my thoughts with joy; joyful in the knowledge that our galaxy could be filled with an enormous variety of beautiful life forms, and a myriad of possible creators and lovers of beauty.
Fifty rotations 2 have passed since I made what has become to be called 'First Contact' and I must record my personal recollections of that momentous event before the details fade from my memory. Let me begin by telling you about myself. My name is Nodrog and by profession, I am a maker and creator of musical beauty. I am now an old man of one thousand and two hundred rotations but as long as I can remember the pursuit of musical beauty has been my joy and obsession. The life of a musician has never been easy; at times I have been poor and hungry, but ultimately music has brought an abundance of beauty into my life and, I hope, into the lives of many others. Most wondrous of all, musical beauty brought to me the love of my life - the beautiful and spectacular Yesnan and revealed to me the full grandeur of the infinite cosmos.
Those fifty rotations past, I was part of a loose association of dedicated players and composers trying to find a distinctive music – a distinctive sound that would bring us success. We practiced hard, rehearsed long hours, experimented and tried to create music that would be praised and lauded as beautiful. We had been trying for a breakthrough with our soundscapes but total and perfect beauty kept eluding us. We had the mastery of the instruments, the technical skills, the resolve and persistence but when we performed our compositions, the audience did not react the way we desired. They were attentive and applauded politely, but we knew that we had not fully touched their hearts. We kept asking, “How could we find the magical quality, the magical ingredient that would give our work beauty and ultimate tranquility?”
It almost goes without saying that Beauty is everything to our people. We know that our world is very beautiful because we have made it so. For thousands of rotations the People have made the pursuit of beauty their priority and at the core of every arena of enterprise lies the Seven Aesthetic principles. I believe that it is always good practice to review what these principles are and I will try to explain what they mean to me personally. The mind has a primal need for the resolution of stress, chaos and discord through beauty and harmony. The experience of aesthetic emotion, from the simultaneous encounter of pure thought with pure feeling, is the instinctive search for truth. The benefits of longevity have given me an appreciation for long term thinking, and a deep concern for the future over the transience of short term gain.
The first Principle is Simplicity. This encourages us to exclude the non-essential from our lives thus allowing us to concentrate fully on what is essential to our well-being. Gathering and acquiring non-essential objects is considered undesirable. In design, simplicity creates beautiful forms from following their function. The second Principle is the concept of Balanced Asymmetry. This is the celebration of the imperfection of existence. We see this in the breaking symmetry of the wave, ripples in sand or in water. Rigid geometry is not pleasing to the eye and horizontal and vertical lines in buildings must be adjusted to be visually pleasing. The third Principle is Understatement where we seek elegance. For example in the rich yet pure sound of a flute or in the humble modesty of a hand made pot. The fourth Principle is that of Naturalness. In music this equates to seeking controlled spontaneity as in the mastery of the slow music. The fifth Principle is Suggestion where Less is often More as in the incomplete arc that suggests a circle or in the importance of the silences between sounds in music. The sixth Principle is Invention. This is the most important principle where we allow ourselves freedom from convention, break habits and seek adventure and experiment in our endeavours. The seventh Principle is Tranquility, where all the principles are harmonised into an energised calmness; a oneness of inner and outer peace.
It is self evident that guided by the Seven principles wonderful achievements had been made by the People in science, medicine, architecture and the arts. On our world conflict, hunger, poverty and disease has been eliminated and everyone has a comfortable home, a high level of education and a long and happy life, through caring, honouring and respecting the beauty in each other. Solar and wind power systems heat and cool our buildings, power the trains, the airships and personal transports and give light to darkness. We consider it our birthright and our duty to maintain our water, land and biosphere in pristine condition and create and celebrate beauty in all its many forms. Of course, here I state the obvious.
As we all know, status and prestige among our people comes from the production of High Beauty. Some dedicate themselves to the beauty of words, for others it is visual arts, architecture, mathematics or science. For my part, I was obsessed with the creation of Beauty through sound and music. I had tried many, many times to compose sound structures based on the Seven Principles. On a few occasions I came close to a perfect Tranquility composition but there was always something missing; often one of the Principles was weak or incomplete; but usually it was a problem with 'Invention'. I knew that I needed something original; a new sound , a new musical structure – something unique and special if I was to achieve perfect beauty.
Always keen to experiment and try new inventions my scientist friend Tinram had developed a new type of sound amplifier. It was built from some type of solid state material that I did not really understand, but it was much more powerful than the resonators and the old glass amplifier that we had used before. We used his new amplifier to boost the sound of our wind and stringed instruments. It worked very well on low volumes but when we increased the volume the amplifier crackled and howled with feedback. To avoid this effect we found that it had to be earthed properly. When we clipped the earth wire onto the cable that led to the solar array on my house the amplifier worked perfectly.
One night, after practicing with the new amplifier, I accidentally left it switched on. It was after midnight and I had been lying awake, thinking of music, when I began to hear the crackling and hissing sounds coming from the rehearsal room. I got up, and at first I thought that there was something wrong with the amplifier, but then - very faintly but growing louder, I began to hear the most sublime music coming from within the amplifier. It was exquisite, multi-phonic, ascendant and joyful. 3 Never before had I heard such beauty – I was transfixed. My mind raced. Delight, awe and astonishment were mixed with confusion. Questions flooded my thoughts - What could be producing these sounds? Who had composed this beauty? Where was it coming from? How could I capture it, reproduce it? I listened in rapture for ten minutes, then the sounds began to fade and the crackle returned and all that remained was the hiss of static....(link to the music)
When I regained my composure, I realised that for ten minutes, I had experienced the Seven Aesthetic Principles in a form that was absolute perfection and of the purest Beauty. I was stunned, overwhelmed and deeply mystified, but I immediately realised that this was the special quality in music that I had been looking for. I managed to recall some of the music and was able to write down some of the essence of what I had heard. The next morning I was full of excitement and told my friends what had happened. At first they were incredulous and mocked me, but when I played them a snatch of the music I had heard they were startled and began to believe me.
The following night Tinram, Garic, Anosh, Lienad and myself sat around the amplifier and waited. The hours passed then just after midnight the crackling and hissing began and then for ten minutes, the amplifier sang with gorgeous music 4 and this time we were able to write down some of what we heard before the music faded. To say that my friends were excited would be complete understatement. They were overjoyed, animated and enervated. We called this piece thereafter 'The Revelation'. (Link to the music)
The next morning we tried to reproduce the sounds we had heard. We could work out that there must be stringed instruments making some of the music and flutes of some kind making other parts? But it was the way that the different instruments interwove and harmonised, how they each had a separate melodic line that harmonised with the others and how less was more and balanced asymmetry, simplicity, invention, and understatement produced naturalness and tranquility and BEAUTY! Up until that moment we had mostly only known single line melodic music. We knew about simple harmonies with thirds but at that time we had no concept of counterpoint or counter melody. We began to realise how little we knew, but now we had a hunger for this revelation of Beauty.
On the third night as we huddled around the amplifier we heard the most breathtaking beauty 5 emanating from the speaker. Tears welled in my eyes. The beauty mixed with the pathos was heart-wrenching. Through the blur of our emotions we managed to sketch out the music. Then on the following night we heard another excerpt of astonishing beauty. 6 This was very complex for us to try to notate but it awed and filled us with passion and wonderful ideas. (Link to BWV1015) (Link to BWV1061) (Link to Mozart K427)
The following night it was another heart wrenching and exquisite piece. 7
“Utterly sublime”, exclaimed Tinram! The mixture of a high etherial voice with reed instruments, strings, flutes and bass was absolute perfection and beauty exemplified. This must be some kind of animal making these amazing sounds with its voice, Garic speculated. Perhaps some kind of monkey? We began to experiment with our own voices and found that we could make some of these tuneful sounds that we heard from the amplifier. Thereafter, for nearly two weeks, night after night we eagerly awaited the arrival of more and more beautiful music of enormous variety and emotional content from our amplifier. However, as the first days of wonder passed, I increasingly thought about where these sounds were coming from and how they were emanating from the amplifier. I had to share this discovery with someone, - someone who would understand about the beauty of this music and someone who could figure out the science of what was happening. Garic suggested that the music might be caused by 'Spirits' or the work of a 'God” or other supernatural means, but this foolish and irrational idea I dismissed immediately. I knew that there had to be a scientific and rational explanation for this phenomenon.
Then I remembered that I had read about a mathematician called Yesnan who was a theoretical mathematician with a very beautiful intelligence. I had been awed by her astonishing, mind bending and revolutionary mathematics, especially the formula E=mc2 that she had finally derived from her work on electromagnetic field theory, gravity, time and space. Yesnan was an expert, a genius, in the Beauty of Mathematics. She had become well known for her scientific book 'A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism' In which she had demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves moving at the speed of light. She had unified light and electrical phenomena and she had predicted that there may be many other levels of the electromagnetic spectrum. Her ideas were revolutionary in-so-far that she changed how physical reality would henceforth be understood as continuous fields, subject to four partial differential equations. She had then gone on to investigate Time, Space and Gravity and develop a theory that connected these functions.
I looked up Yesnan's co-ordinates and sent her a message telling her about our amazing amplifier. I asked her, to come and listen to the amplifier that sings in the night with beautiful music from some other realm. My friends and I want to know how this amplifier works; how it finds and makes beautiful music? We also want to know where the music come from? Can you please help us solve these mysteries? I sent my letter off by air mail but it would take several weeks for it to cross the ocean to where Yesnan lived. Each night the amplifier sang with more beautiful music as we waited for a reply from Yesnan. We hungrily took down as much as possible, each of us scribbling out a single instrument part, as best we could, then after the music ended we would try to reassemble what we had noted down into a coherent piece. After much discussion and amendments, we took up our various instruments and tried to reproduce the music we had heard. Sometimes we captured the beauty perfectly but other times the complexity defeated us and the results were not so good.
As soon as she received my letter, Yesnan realised that this was an event of extraordinary importance and immediately made arrangements to cross the ocean to where I lived. The next day accompanied by two other scientists she boarded the first available solar-skyliner airship. These are magnificent and are almost the size of a small town. The giant balloon is filled with an inert gas and the surface is covered with solar converters that give the power to the silent engines. There are two hundred private rooms, several restaurants, a ballroom, swimming pools and many other types of recreations such a tethered flying.
Later, Yesnan told me that she had tried tethered flying. She could swoop low over the red and green tinged water to touch and feel the vibrations from the multi coloured leviathans – sensing their powerful energies as they surged through the deep green water; then rising and soaring high above the airship - seeing her reflection in the silver panels of the ship and touching the pink clouds before diving down to feel the exhilaration of the warm air racing over and through her wings.
The journey took her three weeks to reach the island of Estrie where I live. My home is high up in the mountains, where the air is moist and temperate and suits both my instruments and myself very well. It would take Yesnan and her companions another week to reach my home, using a mixture of public and personal transport. The journey from the airship port through the lush fruit laden tropical forest into the the foothills where the great blue corn grows and then into the mountains that touch the pink clouds is a delight but a very tiring ascent.The reward is the dense scented air from the Gonam and Pricota flowers that enervate the last stages of the ascent. Two days before their arrival we were told of their coming by a young courier flier. We practiced our music, our instruments and readied the rehearsal room where the amplifier sat. We prepared seating, food and accommodations for our guests. I remember a great sense of excitement building up.
They arrived tired and dusty from the trip. I was immediately breath-taken by the vision that was Yesnan. She was tall, elegant and radiated calmness and warmth. Her golden eyes glowed and sparkled with bright intelligence. I could not take my eyes off her smooth form and intense colours. She introduced herself and her two companions as Nala and Neela who were also very handsome. Nala was an astronomer and Neela an expert in electrical devices. We welcomed them with juices and fruits of many tastes and colours and then a meal of the choicest vegetables from my garden. After they had unpacked and settled into their rooms, they were eager to examine and hear the sounds from the amplifier.
That evening, sitting in the rehearsal room with my friends, we all waited patiently until the amplifier began to sing. 8 The scientists were transfixed until the music faded and the static returned. For a while no-one spoke then in a soft, hushed reverent voice Yesnan said, (Link to JSB Brandenburg No.5)
“What exquisite music – very, very beautiful and inspiring. It created such great tranquility in me.”
I saw her wipe a tear from her eye, but then she recovered her composure and became the scientist again and said.
“I must discuss with my companions what we have just heard and how this is possible. We shall need some time to examine the amplifier and discuss our findings.”
Yesnan and her companions conferred for many hours. They examined the amplifier, how it was constructed and how it was wired and connected to the solar array on my house. Eventually they came out of their huddle to speak to us.
“To begin,” Yesnan said, “we believe that the music you have been receiving must be emanating from some other inhabited planet. In the mathematical theory that I published ten rotations past, I tried to explain the connection between light, magnetism and electricity. I also predicted that there would be waves of energy beyond what we can see that I called 'etherial waves' 9 that may be capable of carrying information. We believe that your 'Music Amplifier' is receiving those etherial waves coming from some other place...most likely some other distant world. We believe that you have accidentally created a receiver of etherial waves.”
“Quite Amazing!” I exclaimed. “And Astounding!”
“However, there is more, much more,” Yesnan continued, “We think that when you earthed your amplifier you unknowingly connected it to the solar grid; connecting billions of solar panels together to form a giant antenna. While the planetary solar array was receiving etherial waves across a wide spectrum your amplifier was acting as a tuning device. As the planet rotated on its axis the solar array scanned the cosmos. When the array faced the sun it generated millions of Giga Watts of electricity but when it faced the darkness of space it received the other components of the electromagnetic spectrum - starlight and etherial waves. Etherial waves travel at the speed of light and the distance an etherial wave travels in a vacuum in one second is enormous (nearly 300 million metres per second) but even at light speed it would have taken the transmission at least four and a half rotations to travel from the nearest solar system to our world. It may be coming from a more distant world but at this time we cannot tell. Listening to the music coming from your amplifier, we were time travelling back into another planet's past. The solar grid is acting as a giant antenna and the coil in your amplifier is acting as a tuning device and then amplifying the etherial waves so that we can hear them. On one level this confirms my beautiful mathematics are correct but on another level it presents us with many more profound questions. If I am correct it tells us that we are not alone in our universe, and that other beings also love Beauty! It also follows that if your 'Music Amplifier' can receive etherial waves we may be able to build a transmitting device and send messages about our Beauty to these other beings.”
“This is truly wonderful,” I said. “It would be amazing to share our beauty with these other beings and receive more of their beauty in return. Do you think it will be possible to build a transmitting device?”
“We must first examine you amplifier and then try to build another more powerful receiver so that we can listen in detail to these beautiful musical works. I will speak with the other scientists and I am sure that in time we will be able to build a transmitting device so that we can send our beauty out into space to this other world.” Yesnan replied.
I was swept into a wonderful sense of elation at the amazing possibilities that Yesnan had outlined and I was also being swept into an adoration condition by Yesnan's physical presence and beauty and by her remarkable intelligence.
For the next few days Yesnan and her scientists made detailed measurements of the amplifier and did endless calculations. In the evenings we all sat around the amplifier and listened in hushed reverence when the amplifier began to sing....and we heard these beautiful pieces filled with tranquility.(Link to Adagio for Strings) (Link to Mozart K622) (Link to Albinoni Oboe Concerto) (Link to Mozart Bassoon Concerto)(Elgar, Nimrod)
Eventually the scientists departed; to return to their island and begin constructing a more powerful receiver of etherial waves. I was very sad to see Yesnan leave. I had become smitten with her, but I don't think she really noticed me at that time; she was so taken up with the excitement of the discoveries and the science.
“I hope that we can keep in touch,” I said.
“Absolutely,” Yesnan replied, “I would really like to hear from you regularly and about what you and your friends intend to do with all this beautiful music you have received.”
“We hope to perform some of the music very soon and see what the people make of it,” I replied.
“I'm sure it will be a great success. I will await your public concerts when you come to my island.”
She smiled, shook my hand and stroked my feathers gently. Then she left with her companions. Was that stroke of my feathers a sign, I wondered
For the next two rotations I continued to receive beautiful music from the amplifier. With my friends we were able to reproduce the instrument sounds and to write out parts for each instrument in a form that reproduced as best we could the essence of the beautiful music. At first we played to our friends and relatives to much admiration and acclaim. Then we played our music on some of the smaller, nearby islands. Our fame grew and as you might expect, we became famous with our ensemble and we played many large concerts on all the main islands. We became highly honoured for our production of Beauty in the form of music.
I kept in touch with Yesnan by letters and she told me that, with her group of scientists, they had worked hard for those two rotations and made incredible progress. By studying the amplifier they built their own receiver and were able to receive the beautiful music broadcasts clearly and fully. Most importantly they had also worked out a means of saving the music onto magnetic wire. However, the challenge of building a transmitter was proving much more difficult than they had imagined and would require the construction of a large dish shaped device together with the design and making of several new electrical devices.
Then, one day, just after I had received a letter from Yesnan telling me of their groups progress, without any warning, the amplifier went silent. Perhaps something had failed in the amplifier, or a connection had been broken? We checked and double checked ; there seemed to be nothing wrong with our device. We waited patiently, sitting around listening for any musical sounds...we tried moving the knobs...we tried moving the position of the amplifier. To no avail – the beauty seemed to have disappeared; vanished as mysteriously as it had come to us.
I wrote to Yesnan and a few weeks later she confirmed that her receiver had also gone silent. The scientists had also waited and waited hoping that the music would begin again but all they heard, night after night, was the hiss and crackle of static. I was sad, but by then I had more music material than I could cope with and I was getting more and more rewarding engagements with my group so I switched off the amplifier. We went on our first great tour, giving concerts on many important islands to large appreciative audiences. For over a year we traveled and performed; we even performed on board the Great Skyliner airships, in the Great Fruitarium and on the Plateau of the People beneath a dazzling canopy of stars. Our fame traveled before us and more and more people wanted to hear the music that was truly 'Out of this World' as our advertisement said. However, for me, the most memorable performance was on the Island of the Golden Feathers when Yesnan and her scientists came to hear what we had made of the music from that other world.
We always began our concerts with that first music that we had been able to write down - the piece we called 'The Revelation'. It's energy and emotional power drew the audience to us and transported them into the oneness of Tranquility. We followed with many other beautiful pieces that we had deciphered from the amplifier. With each new audience we were apprehensive as to how they would react and sometimes at the end of the first piece there would be a pregnant silence...not knowing, we would tremble ... but then the audience would erupt in a joyful adulation and we would breathe again and continue enervated with our concert. However, in that particular concert I was concentrating all my skill and emotion into the seven principles and directed at one person...the magnificent and beautiful Yesnan. My solo performances on the stringed lyra played with a bow and backed by my friends on other types of lyra of lower pitch were particularly appreciated by the people. We had managed to transcribe and reproduce many of the quartets for stringed instruments that had sung to us from the amplifier. However, I believe that the most emotionally moving performances were by Garic when he vocalised the voice music that we had heard and copied. Garic did not know what the voice sounds meant but he could emulate and soar through three octaves and with our instruments backing him we reached for Ecstatic Beauty.
After the concert Yesnan and her friends came to congratulate us on our wonderful concert and to invite us to visit their workshops and see the progress they had made on the transmitter and the recording device. Yesnan looked gorgeous in her iridescent turquoise robes and her deep green and gold eyes seemed to lock onto mine when we talked, making a great warmth come over me and a sublime tranquility settle upon me. I invited her and her friends to have a supper with us. They accepted and we all made our way to a nearby Pricota restaurant. It was a wonderful meal of the choicest vegetables and fruits from the abundance of the Island of Golden Feathers – an abundance of colours and visual delight. But my eyes were not on the food, they were gazing as often as modesty would permit at Yesnan. We exchanged pleasantries, but in company it was difficult to converse with Yesnan alone. I longed to get to know more about her. The evening ended and we all departed to our accommodations. Just as we parted, Yesnan came to me and insisted once more that I visit her workplace the next day. Once again her hand brushed my feathers lightly. I did not sleep much that night, I was so excited at the prospect of visiting Yesnan’s laboratory the next morning.
I woke early and after some fruit and juice I set off to the Centre for Scientific and Mathematical Beauty; a large glistening and colourful building that shone brilliantly among the serenity of the Island of Golden Feathers. The building was adorned with fruit bearing plants of vibrant colour and scents. I entered and asked at the reception for Yesnan. I did not wait long and soon Yesnan appeared - exquisitely radiant as the morning sun.
“Welcome Nodrog, I am so glad that you could come to visit. There is so much that I wish to show you.”
My pulse quickened and I hoped that she would not notice my feathers rising.
“It is a privilege to be here. I have been looking forward to visiting for a long, long time,” I said.
“Very well, let's go up to my laboratory and I'll show you what my group of scientists have been doing since we first heard that beautiful music coming from your amplifier.”
Yesnan showed me around the laboratory. It was filled with a myriad of materials and equipment which she tried to explain in terms that I might understand, but the numbers and long words flew about my head, as my attention was completely focused on the sweet voice and presence of the woman whom had entangled my tranquility. Yesnan showed me the bigger receiver that her group had built and the designs for a transmitter that would be enormous and use huge amounts of energy to send a message through space to other beings. She demonstrated the sound recording device that they had used to capture some of the beautiful music. She explained that it was only the beginning – sound and light could be transferred into electro-magnetic energy and stored and transformed. I felt her idealism and the beauty of her intelligence - I was in awe and in love with her.
“The four part string music you played at your concert was very beautiful. After thinking about it I realised that it had a mathematical beauty. In effect it was four simultaneous equations operating in real time that I could visualise while you played. The beauty was not only audible but I could see it as a mathematical function rolling through my mind's eye.”
“That's amazing”, I replied. “I wish that I had your abilities with mathematics, to be able to see music that way.”
“Given time I could teach you”, ventured Yesnan.”Although I have made many theoretical discoveries using mathematics, I believe there is much, much more to explore. It seems to be a fundamental feature of nature that physical laws can best be described in terms of a mathematical theory of great beauty and power that require a high standard of mathematics to understand. While we have described the macro universe with the theory of relativity the micro universe begins to give up its secrets using a different concept called quantum mechanics where we describe mathematically the strange world of the very, very small. Yet that world is very beautiful and I am sure that it has its own strange and beautiful music for those who can reach out to hear and see it.”14
“I would love to hear that music of that quantum world. Perhaps we could work together to bring your mathematics into being as a musical work. That would be very exciting, challenging and inspiring.”
“I believe that the laws of nature should be expressed in beautiful equations and in beautiful music. Please keep in touch, Nodrog, your visit has been a great pleasure.” Yesnan said as we parted in the foyer, and once more her hand reached out and stroked my feathers and I reciprocated. This time I felt a palpable energy pass between us and a warm rush of pleasure and happiness came on me. I left floating.
After the meeting with Yesnan we had only two more performing engagements. My mind was so filled up with her that I scarcely remember the details of the concerts – only that they were very sucessful. Inevitably, after many, many months of travelling and performing, all the musicians began to long for home and were happy to return on the Skyliner to Estrie for some well earned rest. It was good to be home, but I was wondering how I might arrange to see Yesnan again. I hardly knew her, but I was missing her company after only a short absence. The prospect of collaborating with her on a musical work could be the way to draw closer to her.
A few weeks after my return home, I was practicing some music at night with Anosh. We felt that the balance of volume between our instruments could be improved, therefore I switched on the amplifier to boost my stringed instrument volume. Just after I switched on the amplifier I heard some faint sounds among the usual static and crackle. I thought at first that something had gone wrong with the amplifier. From the speaker came a jarring cacophony of noisy, angry sounds which repulsed me and made me feel unwell. It was crude and discordant noise and at extreme variance to any of the seven principles. I was aware of simplistic, loud beating drums and short repetitive tunes, with what seemed like animal voices screaming and chanting. I became upset and switched the amplifier off in disgust. Later that day I wrote a letter to Yesnan telling her about what had happened.
It was several weeks before I received a reply. Yesnan, thanked me for telling her about the most recent sounds coming from my amplifier. Her group had switched their amplifier back on and they were also hearing those disturbing sounds. She told me that between the drum beats and repetitive melodies there were periods of chatter...the type of sounds monkeys make when they are angry. It seemed to be some type of language but it might take some time to decipher any meaning from the chatter.
Throughout the next rotation period, whenever I was home, out of curiosity and hope that the beautiful music might resume, I would connect the earth wire to the solar array and switch on the amplifier. Sadly, it was always those faint but angry, ugly sounds. It seemed to me that the sounds got more and more aggressive and violent until one night there was nothing ...just the hiss and crackle of static. I wondered if there was a fault with the amplifier or had the transmission been stopped for some reason.? I never fully understood how the music came to us or where it came from, but I longed for the beautiful music to return. It was magical, uplifting, inspiring and enervating. Eventually I disconnected the amplifier from the solar array and gave up any hope of the beautiful music returning.
For a special time the beautiful music had come and created beauty in my life. Then it was gone and replaced by ugliness. Until Yesnan showed me the experimental sound recorder, I had no way of completely capturing the beautiful music. Our transcriptions were only pale shadows of what we had heard. The full Beauty of the first music from the amplifier resided only in my memory. Now, however, it would inspire me and my companions, and the other people we would teach, to reach higher for a greater beauty and to make their own creations, their own beautiful music. Together we would apply the seven principles and the ideas we had heard to make the most wonderful sounds and one day we would fill our corner of the galaxy with radiant musical beauty as testament to the Seven Principles.
Unexpectedly, it was at the beginning of the new rotation that I received a visit from Yesnan. This time she came alone and I only had a day to prepare for her arrival. She arrived tired and I wanted her to rest and have some fruit but she insisted on speaking to me immediately.
'I have important news for you,” Nodrog. “I have come to tell you that for the time being, the scientists have decided to stop work on the transmitter project.”
“Was there some technical difficulty?” I asked.
“No,” replied Yesnan, “It was a serious concern about Beauty. The receiver we built was much more powerful than your amplifier. As you know, after the beautiful music ended we started to pick up disturbing sounds. Angry, discordant noise, repetitive chanting, repetitive drum sounds, simple repetitive melodies and angry voices. The last sounds we heard from the amplifier were animal voices, probably some kind of monkey. They appeared to be in distress. However, before the transmissions ended we were able to decipher some of their speech. We were also able to calculate where the transmission originated. It was coming from a planet in the Solaris group some six light rotas distant from our world. After the receiver went silent we haven't been able to get any more sounds out of it either ugly or beautiful...just the hiss and crackle of Static.”
“Fundamentally we are deeply and seriously concerned that the beings who created the transmissions may have renounced Beauty. The early transmissions showed that they had the capacity for creating wonderful transcendent music but somehow, we believe, they lost their way and turned instead to barbarity and ugliness. We have learned from translating their language that it would be very dangerous for us to have any contact with them, or share our Beauty with them. You are well aware that on our planet there has always been an abundance of wild fruits and vegetables and that evolution here favoured vegetarians and fruitarians. Apparently, on this other world creatures kill and eat other creatures for food. Some of their talk was about the pleasures of eating chickens, which we think are a type of bird. That idea, of course, is totally repugnant to us. We have very good reasons to think that some, perhaps all, of these beings may be flesh eaters and violent. The risk that they might kill and eat other creatures is too great for us to try to make contact with them. This is why our scientists have decided to end the transmitter project for the present. The interaction with a possibly violent and aggressive life form would be too great a risk for our people. Sadly, although these first transmissions you received were inspiring and hopeful, the later signals were ugly and deeply disturbing. We also believe that the transmissions may have ended because of an event these beings call 'war'. We don't know for sure but these beings may have destroyed themselves in this 'war' and it is possible that there is no-one left to receive our transmissions even if we sent them, as we believe the last radio signals we received were cries for help. Regrettably, for over a complete rotation we have been unable to find any transmissions from that part of space. On one level we are deeply disappointed that we will not be able to communicate with these beings but on another level we are enervated and enthused to know that there was and still may be other intelligent life in our galaxy. Therefore we shall continue to diligently listen to the etherial waves from the cosmos, for it is certain that there will be other creators and lovers of Beauty in our Galaxy and when we hear their music and when we are sure they share our values we will reach out into the vastness of space to find and share our love of beauty with them.”
I heard what Yesnan had said and knew it was a decision filled with wisdom. I understood that the people could not risk contact with creatures who might bring violence and ugliness along with their other finer attributes. I remembered that there is beauty in everything from the tiniest atom to the immensity of the universe and that beauty is both subjective and objective. In everything there is pattern from simple to fractal geometry. Beauty is the embodiment of goodness, fairness and justice and above all, beauty is love and love is the most beautiful force in the universe.
Being in the presence of Yesnan, caused a wave of tranquility to sweep over me. My admiration for her had grown, as had my love for her. My feelings were powerful, almost overpowering. There was only this time, this moment and I had to tell her how I felt about her before the power of the tranquility left me.
“Yesnan, I want to tell you that I think you are wonderful and that I have fallen in love with you. Since I first met you, you have brought so much light and beauty into my life. I just wanted to tell you, and hope that you might find some small beauty in me that might allow me to be part of your life.”
Yesnan was taken aback, but a great wave of tranquility had also swept over her.
“I also feel a blossoming attraction to you Nodrog. I love your music and have listened to several concerts you have performed since we met. I have grown to feel enraptured by your being through your beautiful music. I think you have only begun on your quest for beauty perfected. I would dearly like to work with you. When we combine your music with my mathematics there could be amazing possibilities. Music may be transient but it tells of our time alive, our experiences, our loves and our passions. Through art, music, mathematics or writing...how else can we be memorialised before we become stardust once more? I would love to spend much more time with you and merge our life energies together.”
Her reply was as I had wished and dreamed. “Yesnan, I love your thoughts and ideas and I would be honoured if I could be your most beautiful friend. I am filled with joy and tranquility.”
“Yes, Nodrog, I would also be most honoured to be your most beautiful friend,” she replied.
I smoothed my plumage, rose up off the ground and threw my upper wings around Yesnan. I reached forward and stroked her crimson and gold neck feathers with my hand. I thought, at that moment, that together we would make a Beauty so profound and resolute that it would resound among the stars for eternity.
She unfurled her upper wings and displayed the full splendour of her being. I trembled with amazement and anticipation. The radiance of her gorgeous form and the dazzling colours of her feathers filled my vision with absolute perfection and the scintillating vibration from her beautiful thoughts made me gasp for breath.
“Ah! for BEAUTY!” I exclaimed as we furled closely together.
“Beauty is immortal, Beauty is light. Beauty is Fairness
May Beauty be with you always and fill your life with light.”