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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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amicus sidera
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #6049170 - 08/27/13 04:09 PM

Back in the early 1980's a club that I was affiliated with at the time had a tiny 8-track player and small speakers in the dome of their observatory; on public nights a mix tape was played (at very modest volume) that featured music from both Cosmos and Close Encounters. Many visitors mentioned that the music went well with the experience, as those themes were still a part of public consciousness at that time, with the ability to cue feelings of both the ethereal and the mysterious.

I usually don't play music when observing alone, as I find that it can be distracting.

Fred


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JoeR
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6049253 - 08/27/13 04:41 PM

I prefer the ambient sounds of nature while observing. Driving to and back from the site I prefer Jonn Serrie, Geodesium, Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Harold Budd, Michael Stearns, etc. I will also play it in the car during freezing winter nights while the DSLR is gathering photons.

One reason I avoid star parties is occasionally someone will play music in contrast to the atmosphere, and loudly, which I find annoying and inconsiderate. Being a musician I understand one person's art is another person's noise and I wouldn't impose my preferences onto others.


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Dwight J
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: JoeR]
      #6049321 - 08/27/13 05:20 PM

Boy, a touchy subject for some, even to the point of revulsion. I enjoy using both hemispheres of my brain when observing. When I do listen to music while observing no one else can hear it besides me. As far as it meaning taking extra gear and setup time, I use my iPod to control the scope anyway so there is no extra work involved. To each his/her own but I don't consider myself less than for not embracing the entire gestalt as some seem to need to do.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: sslcm56]
      #6049493 - 08/27/13 07:21 PM

Steve, since my last post to you I've actually been able to find most of the tracks, including the "Bulgarian Shepherdess Song", in mp3 format. I've also tracked down a series of unreleased Vangelis tracks recorded for the series but ultimately not used. They form the larger work of which the track "Comet 16" was a part. That track did appear in the series.

Regards,

Jim


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azure1961p
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: kfiscus]
      #6049615 - 08/27/13 08:29 PM

Quote:

Pink Floyd or nothing.




Agreed and so many excellent live recordings too as well as great never played on the radio tracks. I like talk radio too - idle chatter - nothing heavy - in the dead of the night its a welcome thing at times.

Pete


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GageCook
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: galexand]
      #6049619 - 08/27/13 08:32 PM

Right? Because cars, car stereos and drunk undergrads are not a distraction or reminder at all. I just can't really get the "spaced out" feeling listening to such things. But hey, if lil wayne and the sounds of drunken laughter do it for ya, go for it!

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Bill Weir
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: okieav8r]
      #6049919 - 08/28/13 12:07 AM

Quote:

or maybe Coast To Coast AM to listen to some of the kooks who call in.




That or any other late-night talk radio. I usually observe alone on a forested hillside and the island I live on has the highest concentration of cougars in the world. They are wary of humans but in the dark, quiet and hunched over a scope all I'd look like is prey. I do know someone who at this exact spot while observing had to do a dance around his 20" dob keeping it between him and the big cat until he'd worked his way around to jumping into his car. I see scat regularly when walking the trails. I keep voices on in the dark to give the impression there are people around to try and nudge the cougars away. There are also deer all over these hills and I'd rather they meet a cougar than me. I don't think music would have the same affect.

Bill


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David Knisely
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: GageCook]
      #6049936 - 08/28/13 12:28 AM

Listening to music while observing is a personal decision and nothing more. There is no right or wrong about it. If I am observing alone, I will sometimes (but not always) have the radio on to music or a ball game with the volume fairly low just to help "keep me company". Other times, I may just observe in the quiet of my observing site (other than the occasional sound of my digital audio recorder playing back my last verbal observing log entry). When propagation is good, I will sometimes listen to a public radio station in Kansas ("Radio Kansas" via KHCD Salina/Manhattan) that has a New-age music program called, "Night Crossings". I also have an MP3 player along to play through the van's stereo system, so I can have a lot of music to choose from if I want to listen to something. I mostly play Celtic Woman, Adiemus (Karl Jenkins), Enya, Yani, Mannheim Steamroller, and even music from the soundtrack to BABYLON 5 (Christopher Franke with the Berlin Symphony). If I am with others, the music usually stays off, as the company is enough to keep me from feeling too alone out in the boonies where I most often observe. The only exception might have been when our little observing group had a bunch of people (i.e. all of us) who like to listen to the play by play of Husker Baseball during a star party, in which case, at least one of us had a radio on tuned to the game. On my way to or from my observing site, I sometimes have to be careful, as I often have my Steppenwolf CD in the player (and you just can't drive slow when "Born to Be Wild" is blaring out of the speakers). Clear skies to you.

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esd726
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: GageCook]
      #6049963 - 08/28/13 01:21 AM

Nothing but the crickets, etc for me.

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Moondoggy
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: esd726]
      #6049992 - 08/28/13 01:56 AM

For me,I would listen to Hearts in Space,Jon Serrie,Coast to Coast, or just Nature sounds. It's my time,my nickle,my Selection.. As long as I don't bother anybody with loud stuff,I rock my world since life is short...

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jrbarnett
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: Moondoggy]
      #6050560 - 08/28/13 11:59 AM

Yeah.

That's the thing. It sounds like folks are constructing a mental barrier between "nature" and "music". Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans and the things we do, including elements of our culture like language and music, are every bit as "natural" as the crickets and owls. We are products of the exact same evolutionary forces that gave rise to the cricket's chirp and the owl's hoot. Music is our nature sound. There's nothing more natural about a cricket's chirp than a Jimmy Page guitar riff. Moreover, music is subject to the same framework of immutable laws of time, space and matter as is the cricket's chirp. It belongs in the vastness of space as much, or arguably more, than the cricket's song. After all, we humans have actually ventured into space. The crickets have not.

Regards,

Jim


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6050722 - 08/28/13 01:34 PM

Quote:

Yeah.

That's the thing. It sounds like folks are constructing a mental barrier between "nature" and "music". Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans and the things we do, including elements of our culture like language and music, are every bit as "natural" as the crickets and owls. We are products of the exact same evolutionary forces that gave rise to the cricket's chirp and the owl's hoot. Music is our nature sound. There's nothing more natural about a cricket's chirp than a Jimmy Page guitar riff. Moreover, music is subject to the same framework of immutable laws of time, space and matter as is the cricket's chirp. It belongs in the vastness of space as much, or arguably more, than the cricket's song. After all, we humans have actually ventured into space. The crickets have not.




That's a refreshing way of looking at it, but for most of us who live in the burbs, we can have that music experience any time; not so with sounds that are not man made. One of the side benefits of traveling dozens or hundreds of miles to a dark site is that we are rewarded with a commute with nature that we can't have at home. For many of us, observing trips are the only chances we get to hear the coyotes howl or the crickets play their riffs.

Tom


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csa/montana
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: galexand]
      #6050755 - 08/28/13 01:57 PM

Quote:

Wow, you blew my mind. Nothing I've read here has ever given me such an intense feeling of revulsion as the idea of listening to music while observing.

I'm trying to put my finger on why it seems like such a crazy idea to me, and I think I'm coming up with three things. First, it is another setup chore to pick out some music and tweak the volume and so on (my number one equipment goal is generally to minimize setup chores). Second, it is a potential distraction especially if I decide to change music (or if I pick the radio). Third, it destroys the timeless sense of the experience.

I think that last one is the big one for me. I don't think about time when I'm observing. I just keep observing if the conditions and equipment are cooperating. Sometimes I notice I'm tired, or I notice new stars have come up to the east, and it occurs to me that I've been out for hours. More often, I'll take a look at Vega through binocs and see that it brightens an area of the sky equivalent to the full moon (transparency, what's that?), and I won't be out for more than 5 minutes.

Seems like music would add a totally different element to it, a constant tacked-on reminder of the passage of time. Sounds like a real buzz-kill to me.

Unlike most of the other no-music votes here, I am not in it for the nature sounds though. Mostly I listen to cars, car stereos, and drunk undergraduates laughing too loudly as they stumble to the next party.

Takes all kinds, I guess!




While I prefer listening to the "night sounds" in my remote area; I certainly don't have a feeling of revulsion for those that enjoy listening to music while observing. Whatever an individual wishes to do, to make his observing session that much more enjoyable, is not for me to say no to it.
In my case, I also wish to hear & be on the alert for a bear, etc., that I may not hear if I'm listening to music. Again, it's all in what makes an individual happy while observing! We all share the beautiful night sky in our own way; our way doesn't mean other ways are not suitable.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6050767 - 08/28/13 02:05 PM

Quote:

It sounds like folks are constructing a mental barrier between "nature" and "music". Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans and the things we do, including elements of our culture like language and music, are every bit as "natural" as the crickets and owls.




Yes, kinda ... but no, not really. This argument is reductive, stripping the word "natural" of all meaning. If everything is natural, then there's no point in using this word -- we need a new one to denote "natural but not artificial."

Homo sapiens is a technological animal for sure. We are born without the protective fur that most other mammals use to defend themselves against the elements. Our teeth are unable to chew many of the foods that have been staples of the human diet since the Middle Stone Age. We need clothing and fire to survive.

Are clothing and fire are unnatural? Certainly not if you consider everything produced by evolution to be natural. Clothing and fire are part of the human phenome; they co-evolved with our bodies.

Moreover, fire occurs without human intervention, and there are plenty of things that can be just picked up and used as clothing without any manufacture. So by any standard clothing and fire are less unnatural than, say, buildings made of reinforced concrete.

Regardless, fire and clothing -- as commonly used by human beings since long before the historic era -- are also clearly artificial, and have been recognized as such in all cultures. They're what set us off from all other animals; they're why we were chucked out of the Garden or Eden, and why Prometheus is bound to a rock with a vulture pecking out his liver.

Mind you, I'm not equating "natural" with good and "artificial" with bad, like some new-age pop theorist. Music is artificial and transcendently beautiful -- at least at its best. Bread is artificial and wonderful to eat. Amanita phalloides is natural and not at all wise to eat -- though reputedly tasty.

However, none of this has anything to do with why I don't like to listen to music while stargazing -- or for that matter, while walking or doing anything else outside. Whether the music is natural or artificial has no bearing on that. The problem is that it drowns out the sounds of my environment -- and I like to hear those sounds.

It's the same reason that I prefer walking to driving. When you're driving you're nominally outside, but in fact you're enclosed in a metal bubble that cuts you off from all the subtler aspects of your environment. (The speed doesn't help, either.) Likewise, when you're listening to music you're enclosing yourself in a sound bubble.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6050817 - 08/28/13 02:23 PM

"Likewise, when you're listening to music you're enclosing yourself in a sound bubble."

On the other hand, when you're not listening to music you're trading your human-made sound bubble for a non-human made one. The basis of my post is that there's nothing inherently "holier" in one source of sound bubble than the other. The cricket's sweet nocturne is no more factually fitting to the setting of extending one's visual sense into extra-solar-system space than the raspy strains of Bonnie Rait. There are no crickets any more than there are human musicians in space, after all. Heck, in space no one can even hear you scream.

I guess what I am asking folks to explore is this: why do you think the "subtler aspects of your environment" have any advantage over the less subtle aspects, when sitting at the eyepiece? Even in "nature" (something that I don't believe really exists, by the way), the *pretty* highly conspicuous birds get the mates when their subtler peers do not. Perhaps if crickets were capable of playing the Moog synthesizer, they would choose to do so over chirping.

Come to think of it, maybe that's also why there's so much more money in iPods and iPhones than there is in walking shoes, and why walking shoe makers in recent years have adopted eye-searing day-glo colors to become more conspicuous.

All in good fun. But I do think that the notion that it is "natural" to associate non-human sounds with visual observation of the Cosmos is questionable. Maybe if you were using only your nature-given naked eye, rather than a beast of glass and metal churned out of series of factories to conduct your observations there might be some kind of symmetry. I guess I'm just not into "quaint". Probably why I found Walden Pond to be excruciatingly boring and borderline irrelevant. Bill Bryson FTW!

- Jim


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6050883 - 08/28/13 03:04 PM

Quote:

I think that the notion that it is "natural" to associate non-human sounds with visual observation of the Cosmos is questionable.




That's a legitimate point. Stars do their thing quite unaware of and unaffected by the crickets that surround you.

Quote:

Maybe if you were using only your nature-given naked eye, rather than a beast of glass and metal churned out of series of factories to conduct your observations there might be some kind of symmetry.




Here, I think, is a fundamental divide among backyard astronomers. For me -- and many others -- stargazing is basically a branch of nature study. The naked eye view is preeminent, and binoculars and telescopes exist to supplement it but never to replace it.

For others, stargazing is basically technological; they find the naked-eye view boring.

Mind you, us nature lovers are techno-geeks too. I don't think you can really be a backyard astronomer unless there's a little techno-geek in you.

However, I do think there are some techno-geeks who are pretty much densensitized to nature. Or at least strive to be.

Which is better? That's a value judgment. I think of the night sky as intimately woven with the fabric of nature on the ground; for me stargazing in my local city park is fundamentally different from stargazing in the desert -- and not just because of light pollution. I love them both, by the way, because I love both environments.

Likewise, stargazing in the desert is fundamentally different from stargazing in the mountains, or on the ocean.

But in fact, the stars aren't cuddly and approachable at all. They're fearsomely large and energetic, at distances too vast to comprehend, and operating on time scales much bigger than human experience. Utterly alien. Which, of course, is also a big part of their charm.

As for whether nature is real -- that's sort of a silly question. At some level the distinction between "natural" and "artificial" is quite obviously artificial -- a human construct. But considering how widespread it is -- and has always been -- it's hard not to believe that it reflects something fundamental in the human condition. Something that, I suspect, you recognize a bit more than you're letting on.


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brianb11213
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6050906 - 08/28/13 03:27 PM

Quote:

"Likewise, when you're listening to music you're enclosing yourself in a sound bubble."

On the other hand, when you're not listening to music you're trading your human-made sound bubble for a non-human made one. The basis of my post is that there's nothing inherently "holier" in one source of sound bubble than the other.



Yes ... but when observing - especially in pitch blackness - sound becomes your primary link with the invisible world outside the field of your eyepiece. Replacing "natural" sound with your compilation of music heard (hopefully) through headphones is exercising control freakery ... and, in many situations, is actually putting yourself in danger, as recorded sound is likely to mask any noises made by dangerous events in your vicinity.

Plenty of time for listening to music when in a safe, controlled environment e.g. using your computer in a nice, safe, warm study.


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csrlice12
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6050925 - 08/28/13 03:40 PM

While I can't hear, taste, smell, or feel a star (except our sun, we can feel some of its effects), these other senses are what warn me when a skunk or other wildlife (or even other people) come around. If in a group, music is fine, but if out by myself, it's using your senses to be aware of the world around you......as well as the one light-years away....

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jrbarnett
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6050976 - 08/28/13 04:15 PM

Aww c'mon fellers, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNwYSXJDPLY

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg7OQyUBP1k

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG-vmVrHOGE

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l60STLk_new

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzf7fbNXXMQ

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_09ylQ5Syo4&list=PLBCEB8E2FB870F315

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_sAHh9s08

These are the sounds that tell the story of travel to the stars. We are the only species on the planet that has the apparent potential to pull this off. Our sounds, therefore, are the sounds of space.

These poor guys get left behind...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzN3yJXlWrg



- Jim


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csrlice12
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Re: Listening to music while observing new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6050996 - 08/28/13 04:22 PM

According to Star Trek, It's all over unless the fat whale sings........

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