Music of the spheres

The idea of “music of the spheres” dates back to the Pythagoreans. They saw an analogy between orbital frequency ratios and musical frequency ratios.

HD 110067 is a star 105 light years away that has six known planets in orbital resonance. The orbital frequencies of the planets are related to each other by small integer ratios.

The planets, starting from the star, are labeled b, c, d, e, f, and g. In 9 “years”, from the perspective of g, the planets complete 54, 36, 24, 16, 12, and 9 orbits respectively. So the ratio of orbital frequencies between each pair of consecutive planets are either 3:2 or 4:3. In musical terms, these ratios are fifths and fourths.

In the chord below, the musical frequency ratios are the same as the orbital frequency rations in the HD 110067 system.

Here’s what the chord sounds like on a piano:


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