CHID 496 Mercury Response Paper


Gustav Holst’s music has shown tendencies to be based upon the planets symbolism. The knowledge known of today may have changed the way Holst composed his music, but still does an excellent job at capturing the essence of each planet. His piece on Mercury is quick, fast-paced, uses strings and bell sounds. Mercury, the winged messenger, is characteristically known for its small size, stature, and nimble fast speed, which in course is a very relativistic description and portrayal of the material planet itself. Holst’s piece on Mercury lasts for a mere 4 minutes and 9 seconds, interesting how the piece itself is short and quick, the strings give off a sense of urgency and quickness, and the planet itself is small and quick as well.

Mercury is most similar to Earth’s moon. Their rotation has been altered by tides, their surfaces are heavily cratered, their lowlands are flooded in places by ancient lava flows and they are both small, ancient and have ancient inactive surfaces. The temperatures on Mercury are extreme; given Mercury has no atmosphere and is very close to the sun, its surface temperatures can go from 330 degrees Celsius during the day from -173 degrees Celsius at night. Mercury rotates very quickly around the sun but itself spins quite slow. A full day on Mercury is two Mercury years long, Mercury rotates around the sun twice before itself fully rotates. Evidence also suggests that Mercury has a large metallic core, but due to its weak magnetic field, its hard to say.