"The Transit of Maarten"

May 08, 2012 06:19

To date I've scored six (going on seven) films for Maarten Roos, former astrophysicist and now a scientific/educational film producer based in Portugal. We met for the first time just a few days ago. It was really fun to meet him in person! He was in the L.A. area to give a presentation on 'scientific/educational film making' to the astrophysics department at UCLA.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="William & Maarten"]William & Maarten[/caption]

In addition to Maarten's visit, an astronomically significant event is coming up (June 5)—the 'Transit of Venus'—in which the planet Venus crosses in front of the Sun. This only happens every 120 years or so, so this is the last time anyone alive today will be able to see one. The Transit of Venus is important because more accurate measurements make possible more accurate calculations of the distance of the Earth from the Sun, which makes more precise navigation possible. This is really helpful when you have ships with lots of people and cargo on board who are trying to avoid unpleasant encounters with rocky coastlines.

(A Transit of Venus also occurred in 1761—the year Franklin invented the glass armonica—which is a very fun coincidence!)

In honor of Maarten's visit I wrote a fugue based on the musical gematria of his name. (What else do you write for an astrophysicist but a fugue?) So with Maarten passing through L.A. a mere month away from the Transit of Venus, I thought "The Transit of Maarten" was a nifty title.

Here's the mp3 (5:45).

Here's the pdf score.

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