Pleiades Visions

Movement II: ...life on other worlds

 

Colorado River flood canals near Yuma, AZ.  Image Credit: Getty Images.

The musical materials comprising “...life on other worlds” originate from a melody associated with a series of Pleiades songs sung by the Quechan (previously known as Yuman) Indians.  This melody was identified by ethnomusicologist George Herzog, and influences the construction of the movement in an indirect and abstract manner.  The Quechan are an American Indian tribe native to southwestern Arizona and southeastern California (the area near the town of Yuma, Arizona).  The title refers to the Quechan belief that their ancestors had their origins in the Pleiades.  “...life on other worlds” employs several unusual timbres to create the otherworldly atmosphere suggested by the movement’s title, and features solo melodies evocative of Native American flute music.  The extramusical themes on which “...life on other worlds” is based are linked to historical notions of the Plurality of Worlds: the idea that the universe may contain many instances of life beyond Earth.



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