Autumn Vortex

“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” Albert Einstein (when asked about his theory of relativity), as quoted in “The Jazz of Physics” by Stephon Alexander

Autumn Vortex

Autumn Vortex was inspired by listening to John Coltrane. I was inspired to listen to John Coltrane while reading “The Jazz of Physics” by Stephon Alexander.

Then I listened to Brian Eno. Coltrane and Eno were interested in physics. Alexander, a physicist and jazz musician, used music to inspire his physics research.

As Einstein said in the quote above, music drives intuition. Science trails behind trying to prove what musicians know instinctively.

When I was a freshman in college, my work-study job was in the experimental psychology lab. I got to take care of the lab rats. But anyway, I was in on a conversation between a professor and senior student who was trying to come up with his final research project. They were wondering out loud if they could conduct experiments to see if one could train the ear by following certain tones. I piped up, “of course you can.” Their dumbfounded looks led me to respond, “It’s called ear training. If you don’t believe me, just ask the music department.”

We all know that music has a lot of physics in it. I didn’t know that physics also has music.

“By using an interdisciplinary focus, inspired by three great minds, (John Coltrane, Albert Einstein, and Pythagoras), we can begin to see that the ‘magical’ behavior of the blossoming cosmos is based in music.” Stephon Alexander

Anyway, the song Autumn Vortex arose from grabbing a flute, getting into my recording software, opening a track and adding reverb, and then just improvisational playing with that higher flute right after listening to Coltrane’s Interstellar work. Then I added the percussion, vibes, second flute track and ambient pad, in that order. Not my usual approach, but it worked. (Not, of course, as wonderfully as Coltrane).

Where do you find inspiration?

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