Why was Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata sent to the moon?

Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata was sent to the moon. What happened next?

Artist Katie Paterson currently has an exhibition on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

One of the exhibits in the Earth Moon Earth Exhibition by Katie Paterson.

As one of her exhibition pieces, a grand piano has been placed in the middle of a large chamber room and has been programmed to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

So why is there a piano in a gallery playing a Sonata?

What makes this project unusual is that Katie Paterson not only sent a classical piece of music to the Moon and back, but that she did so using Morse code (known as Moon Bounce).

Specifically, Paterson used Morse code to convert musical notes into information. This information was sent to the moon where it then reflected off the moon’s surface before returning to Earth.

Sonata’s missing reflections

What’s interesting is that the moon didn’t reflect all of the information that was sent. In short, certain notes never made their way back to earth. Nevertheless, those musical gaps and absences remained in the score.

What does the Sonata sound like now?

In the video you can see the programmed notes of the Midnight Sonata being played. However, also being played are the gaps of silence, those missing moments that were held in lost shadows and moon craters.

What’s this got to do with content marketing?

Just this. When you’ve sent a piece of content you think will resonate with your audience, think again. Think of those craters and shadows on the moon. Think of how messages may drift, even get lost if you don’t pay attention to the audience for which they’re intended. If you don’t consider this, your messages may become diluted, and may even lose their potency.

As content writers – in whatever discipline – every word must have a reason for being on the page. Collections of words should communicate messages that are focussed, thoughtful and intended.

You only have someone’s attention for a short amount of time, so appreciate their time, research and understand their needs, and reply to their open challenges with a focus that creates a great starting point for next steps.

When artists collaborate

As for Katie’s approach to her art, she recognises the need and continually seeks to collaborate with many people including scientists, astronomers, cosmologists and supernova hunters. In her mind’s eye, each brings an important piece to any project at hand. Success comes from teamwork.

The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art is extending the Earth-Moon-Earth exhibition into 2021, so try not to miss it if you can!

Published by Theleens

US-based Scottish singer-songwriter (acoustic pop-rock/folk). Metal-print photographer. Major love of 1920's pictorial photography and woodblock prints. See more on kathymuir.com/blog. New music video out now http://smarturl.it/Riverrunningofficial Art | Nature | Creativity.

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