Harmonice Mundi

The Harmony of the World Software Project
Projet de logiciel de l'harmonie du monde en francais

A fair attempt at the Keplerian tradition of exploring the motions of the solar system with musical thinking.  

Check out www.hythlos.org in the future for possibly more information on projects like this.



Nowadays the idea of a music of the spheres, or a cosmic music that descends from the planets seems more like poetic philosophy than anything scientific.  However, when the scientist Kepler discovered special principles about planetary motion, he also reconsidered the music.  Apparently his observance of a harmonic law of planetary motion was reason for him to propose a computable system of pitch and harmony deriving from angular velocity.  

The purpose of this web site and the associated programming project is as a tool to examine his system.  With Java 2, it provides an open-source solution for listening to harmonies so generated by planetary motion.  This program can run on any computer provided with a Java Virtual Machine (Rev 1.5 or greater). To look at the instructions for using this program, click here. For a screen shot, click here.

Note: To run the newest version 2.1, after downloading, go to the main directory and type: java -jar harmony.jar
If version 2.1 does not run on your system, consider getting the most recent version of the CLI (Command Line Interface) as it is much more stable, and the instruction manual is tailored for it.


Generating music from planetary speeds is like rolling dice, since both are random within bounds.  Suppose that good music requires intelligent composition.  Good planetary music is probably nonsense because classical physics proves otherwise.  In fact, planets move because they have inertia, not because they want to move.  

Suppose that intelligent composition with the planets is possible.  Kepler's theory alone is inadequate because music is more than just harmony.   Without rhythm or melody, there is no music.  Hence a need for more intelligence would exist in order to have music of any kind.

Such intelligence would not be in support of classical mechanics, since Newton predicted planetary motions more precisely without explicit musical assertions.  

Mechanics as such defines a planet physically as a body possessing only momentum, and introduces gravity as a reason for change in momentum.  Since the musical aspects were not necessary for use of the physical aspects, it is reasonable to believe that the music Kepler sought and the intelligence behind it are not physical phenomena.    

Recent changes in thinking about physics have come to discredit classical mechanics, such as with relativity and quantum mechanics.  Does this mean that harmonice mundi could again find serious consideration throughout the physics community?  No, since it could only be a cosmological issue, and nowadays a cosmologist's open-mindedness is so vast that all of harmonice mundi  would be like a teardrop in the ocean of possibilities.  A quick glance inside Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell or a listen to Wolfram Tones, in the opinion of this author, support a troubling hypothesis:  the human imagination can make true whatever it pleases, given sufficient concentration.  

Apology for Kepler

You may have been mislead if you were thinking that world harmony was something else.

If there were a profound harmony of the world, then maybe all nations would be allies; people and animals would live without endangerment and without cruelty; famine, disease and poverty would have sufficient relief; culture would flourish; pollution would be manageable; global warming would come as a blessing or not at all; traffic jams would be pleasure or non-existent; cancer or bipolarity in any human faculty would improve life; and overdoses would end.   

As far as Kepler goes, Harmonice Mundi has been completely translated into English, but not every reader finds within it a recipe for making such a world.  Instead, what is found is evidence of study in dissimilar disciplines and a desire to illuminate a common principle among them—a harmony in the abstract.  Unfortunately, not even every American student of mathematics native to English would say that "The Harmony of the World" as a title in translation does fairly represent the contents of Kepler's work in translation.   

Perhaps if Latin were still a living language, then among its population would be the right minds to know the way from constructible polygons in geometry to constructible peace in geopolitics via Kepler's book.    

Call For Instrumentation

The Harmony project would benefit greatly from an orchestra of suitable instruments! Harmony speaks the language of CSOUND.  

Created by C.Arthur with
Mathematica  (Oct 1, 2007)
(physical mail address)
Harmony Software Project
POBOX 1434
GetJava Download Button SourceForge.net Logo Valid XHTML 1.1!