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Sternenrest | the music
‘stars don't make music’

It came as a great surprise to hear that stars produce ‘music’ – at any rate this is how the asteroseismologist Conny Aerts described the existence of acoustic vibrations in stars during her lecture entitled Kosmische symfonieën [Cosmic Symphonies] Nijmegen 2005). In doing so, she perhaps unintentionally created a connection between the inaudible sounds of the stars, that only exist in scientific measurements and models, and our (musical) imagination.

It has become apparent that sound plays an important role not only in the life of stars, but also in the formation of structures in the universe. By analyzing these sounds it is possible to obtain knowledge about the internal structure of stars and the evolution of the universe in exactly the same way that sonologists are able to lay bare a tone’s structure, which would otherwise remain concealed from us.

In Sternenrest an attempt has been made to integrate a number of scientific results from asteroseismology, cosmology and sonology into music. The varying scales of the structures here concerned are rendered audible and recognizable by combining instrumental music with electronic music. The audience is surrounded by instrumentalists and 192 loudspeakers.

The composer Willem Boogman developed the project in close collaboration with the philosopher Chris Bremmers, the video maker Mateusz Herczka, and with the scientist Conny Aerts, who answered all questions about ‘her’ star HD 129929 with great dedication, providing the measurement data and the required interpretation of it. 

The subtitle stars don’t make music gives rise to the question in what sense do stars and the night sky possess an aesthetic dimension, and how can this be made accessible to us and be expressed in music and other art forms. With Chris Bremmers Sternenrest was embedded from the very beginning in a reflection on diverse aspects of the relationship between science and art and the relationship between science and the observation of stars in everyday life.

The various ways of discovering and observing stars and the night sky and their interrelationships make up the theme of this interdisciplinary project.


Sternenrest is produced by Barooni (Roland Spekle.) cf. colophon