“Impromptu on the Standard Model”
My composition “Impromptu on the Standard Model” is a direct reversal of the approach taken by the scientists responsible for quantum theories. Instead of a search for evidence that verifies theory and cements it into principles and law, I am imposing the highly subjective human consciousness onto known properties of the quantum world. However, this is not an approach in opposition to the work of great scientists, instead, it serves us at a separate level of understanding — one dealing in emotion and musical traditions. These three short piano pieces roughly represent the relative energies of standard model particles as frequencies — musical notes that we can hear and understand. As can be seen in the table at the end of the score, I have normalized the mass of the electron (511,000 eV/c^2) to C2 on the piano (65.41 Hz) by dividing the mass by a unitless factor of 7812.26. This gives 65.41 eV/c^2, which I am directly translating to 65.41 Hz, or a low C. All other particle masses are normalized by this same factor, giving an artistic approximation for the intervals between particle masses as musical notes, which allows us humans to hear and appreciate a proxy for what the quantum world, in a sense, sounds like. The musical ideas within these pieces (such as the extended trill in “Bosons” and tritonal chord in “Leptons”) come from the intervals and dissonances inherent to the energies of these particles, and all artistic melodies that I have added on top of the base particle chords (as annotated) are based on the original groupings of notes. I drew inspiration from that starting point, and simply went with anything else that felt right, hence the title “Impromptu”.
About the Author: Daniel Burgess
I'm an astrophysics major, and I've worked in our department as an associate researcher for the past two years. My interests range from high energy compact objects and astrobiology to renewable energy technology and the dynamics of Earth's climate as a result of Global Heating. I also work as a professional musician, songwriter and producer, write extensively, and am an avid climber and lover of all things outdoors.