Saturday, May 15

The quantum secret of atonal music | The stone ax


The composer Antón García Abril, at the headquarters of the General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE).
The composer Antón García Abril, at the headquarters of the General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE).

A few days ago Antón García Abril, a Spanish composer and musician who is a member of the Generation of 51, left us, a generation of musicians whose main mission – according to Tomás Marco – was to reconquer lost time.

In a very few years they assimilated a whole series of musical tendencies that had their origin in Stravinsky, a musician from which they were incorporating new categories, the most significant being that of Schönberg’s free atonalism. With these things, the members of the Generation of 51 revived contemporary music in a country buried under the rubble of the postwar period.

Because during the post-war period, both García Abril, Tomás Marco and Luis de Pablo collected everything that had been produced in the musical field since the Civil War began. They did so without excluding pictorial languages, as well as scientific experiments and discoveries in the field of physics, especially in that of quantum mechanics, whose property called quantum entanglement will be the scientific reflection of atonal music. Let’s explain it in a simple way.

The term quantum entanglement was coined in 1935 by Erwin Schrödinger to describe the behavior of subatomic particles related to each other, giving the same distance between them.

The term quantum entanglement was coined in 1935 by Erwin Schrödinger to describe the behavior of subatomic particles related to each other, giving the same distance between them. In this way, whatever happens to one of the particles also happens to the other with which it is related, even if it is in a different place.

All this may sound like phantasmagoria, in fact that is how Einstein himself called it: “phantasmagoric action at a distance”. All things considered, it is amazing that two particles separated in the distance perceive the same thing, that is, if one of the particles undergoes a change in spin (the direction of rotation), the effect is “perceived” immediately by the other particle. which, in turn, changes the direction of rotation despite the distance.

The only thing we know from recent experiments is that a current particle is still entangled with another that existed.

But the most amazing thing is that this not only occurs spatially, but also occurs temporarily, since it is not necessary for both particles to come together at the same time. Its mechanism is unknown, just as the mechanism of entangled particles in space is unknown. The only thing we know from recent experiments is that a current particle is still entangled with another that existed.

Now, if we take the concept of quantum entanglement to sound space, we find a chaos of random notes that is what we hear when we attend an atonal music audition, better known as contemporary music, where the hierarchical tradition of sounds of the basic scale in the tonal system do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do breaks. It is curious to see that where the composition was developed around a central or tonic note, now it develops in a casual way, considering one note as important as another, without distinguishing any note as dominant, and it happens that a note has its effect on another note that, in turn, it is interlaced across the distance between bars.

This atonal music, originally from the early twentieth century, came to put the soundtrack to the birth of the last of the great branches of physics. Quantum mechanics as a reflection of the invisible composition of nature has its sonic expression in Arnold’s atonal music Schönberg, whose compositional language, we have already said, was a significant influence on musicians of the Generation of 51 such as Cristóbal Halffter, Luis de Pablo or García Abril, musicians whose mission was to bring the subatomic particles that underlay the real world to the atonal context postwar.

The stone ax is a section where Montero GlezWith a will to prose, he exercises his particular siege to scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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