Galileo's muse: a performance of music, physics, and creativity

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Abstract

  • The year is 1604. A young Italian scientist sits alone in his workshop, surrounded by the apparatus of his experiments-pendulums, bronze balls, wooden boards, and planes of various lengths. For months on end he has been trying to figure out how objects move. But now, in frustration, he realizes that his eye is just not quick enough, and his clocks not precise enough for the measurements that he desperately needs. Troubled by his failure he walks to the corner of his workshop and picks up his beloved lute. He tunes its strings and begins to play. Then, as music fills the space around him, he has an idea‚Ķ Galileo's Muse explores the surprising relationship between the scientist Galileo Galilei and the music of late Renaissance Italy. It tells the delightful and unexpected story of how Galileo's love of music and his experience as a lute player held the key to one of his most important scientific accomplishments-the formulation of his "Law of Falling Bodies." With rarely performed lute music by Galileo's father and brother, lively 17th century Italian dances and trio sonatas, and a reenactment of Galileo's breakthrough experiment of the inclined plane, Galileo's Muse will draw you into the process of creativity, revealing in words, sights, and sounds how insight often emerges from where we least expect it.