Episode 136: Good Vibrations

Angels with harp.

This printer’s mark shows three putti holding a harp and a compass, combining the measure and tone of music with the precision of mathematics. Title page detail from Francesco Algarotti's Dialoghi sopra la luce, i colori e l'attrazione... Image courtesy of the Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, Othmer Library of Chemical History, Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Lend us your ears! On today's show, Distillations offers front-row seats to learn more about two very different musicians whose work is frequently analyzed through the lens of science. First, we chime in on the long-standing debate over what makes Stradivari violins sound superior to all others made before and since.  Then we learn how the elements serve as muse for sound artist Susan Alexjander, whose work is featured in the exhibit Elemental Matters.

Show Clock

0:00 Opening Credits
0:33 Introduction
1:18 Strad Secrets?
8:13 Interview: Susan Alexjander
16:41 Closing Credits


Music in this show featured “Sequencia” and “Elements as Tone” by Susan Alexjander and “Le Petit Jardin” by Lee Maddeford. The recordings of Stradivari violins came from instruments played by Eric Grossman and Itzhak Perlman. Special thanks to Mia Lobel for researching this show, and to the Free Music Archive, an open source for free and legal music and audio downloads.  


Posted In: History

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