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If you have to choose a song...

  1. Mar 19, 2016 #1
    To send to a solar system where there is a planet that may have intelligent aliens able to get it, what would you send?
    Consider that they are probably not capable to understand the words but just to listen it

    (every kind of music you like, pop, rock, love songs and every singer or group, beatles, michael jackson, katy perry, victoria justice and so on)

    The choice is up to you
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2016 #2
  4. Mar 19, 2016 #3
    Well perhaps Beethoven' late quartets. I would prefer Bach's, kunst der fuge. A version for string quartet, or maybe Glen Gould's truncated version on organ.
    Second choice, the last chorus from Bach's "Saint Matthews Passion" (assuming they could not understand the words).
  5. Mar 19, 2016 #4


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    Imperial March (Star Wars), no, strike that, they might think we were about to invade. On other days I would probably also choose some classical music like Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. But today I choose
  6. Mar 19, 2016 #5


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    Something that not only sounds great, but also looks quite interesting.

  7. Mar 19, 2016 #6
    I don't think it would be a good idea to send music. It is expecting them to be way too much like us to even get the concept. Even assuming they get the concept, they might still not recognize any given genre as music. Their music might have parameters that exclude ours.
  8. Mar 19, 2016 #7


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    Which is more or less why I thought about something that is interesting in more than one way.
  9. Mar 19, 2016 #8
    Yes, if you forced me to choose, I'd choose Bach, but I still think that is expecting them to be more like us than we have any good reason to expect.
  10. Mar 19, 2016 #9
    I think we should send something that all humanity likes so that those aliens could make an idea about us and about what we like, even if they don't get the concept of music or they have different music in ours (whatever the genre) there is a pattern that can be observed, and if they are intelligent they probably gonna appreciate that pattern, at least that's what i think
  11. Mar 19, 2016 #10
    The problem is that the patterns in music are decorative. If they don't get art, they just won't get music, and might run themselves ragged trying to decipher some deep math insight that isn't there, or some communication of information that isn't there.
  12. Mar 19, 2016 #11
    so true. But as far as I understand, this thread is more about people than about the aliens.
    I'd choose a piece of classical music- Mozart, Beethoven, Chajkovskij (no idea how you spell him in English)
  13. Mar 19, 2016 #12
    A person's answer would reveal some of their assumptions about aliens, yes, but my answer is no different in that regard.
  14. Mar 19, 2016 #13
    It's spelled Tchaikovsky here in Amurica.
  15. Mar 19, 2016 #14
    Some but by no means all. Many patterns in music are structural, see A Generative Theory of Tonal Music by Lerdahl and Jackendoff, and I think I could go to my book shelves and pull out three or four other volumes on structural patterns in music.
  16. Mar 19, 2016 #15


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    How about natural sounds, like wind, ocean waves, running streams, bird songs, . . . ?
  17. Mar 19, 2016 #16
    I threw out the word "decorative" a bit hastily, yes, waving my hand at the distinction between what is done for esthetic purposes and what is done for practical purposes. There's no reason to think aliens would have any esthetic motivations for anything they do, but it would be impossible for them not to have practical ones. And, even if they did have an esthetic sense, there is no reason to think it overlaps with ours.
  18. Mar 19, 2016 #17
    I am afraid I don't understand what you are trying to say. Would you mind explaining that somewhat.
  19. Mar 19, 2016 #18
    I like that idea very much.
  20. Mar 19, 2016 #19
    Consider some big abstract sculpture in a city somewhere. It has some structure, but the sculpture is ultimately not practical. No one lives in it, it isn't used for storage, nor are meetings held in it. It's there for purely esthetic reasons. An alien intelligence could easily be unable to grasp that.
  21. Mar 19, 2016 #20


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    We already did, are you aware of Voyager?

  22. Mar 20, 2016 #21


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    [Edit: previous post deleted in lieu of this one.]

    Wait, my last post might have been premature. On further thought, this might be more appropriate:

    It's tough to go wrong there. That song is a safe bet, particularly if the video is transmitted too. Especially.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  23. Mar 20, 2016 #22
    I wonder if they could understand it. But it's the best we can do. I hope that they can understand the music as something created by intelligent beings. Even if they can't appreciate it, perhaps they would be curious to find out who sent it. Provided they have something like ears!
  24. Mar 20, 2016 #23
    Thanks, yes, I see what you mean now.
  25. Mar 20, 2016 #24
  26. Mar 20, 2016 #25
    They should have included pictures and diagrams on how to build a simple version of an old Edison hand cranked player.
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