Category: Uranus

Uranus response

CHID 496 – The Planets

Uranus Response Paper



It is very appropriate for our class especially that Uranus was discovered by a musician. I have heard of Herschel, but I believe only briefly because of his musical composition; interestingly enough, I had no idea that he was responsible for the discovery of Uranus. It is also rather staggering to think that it is also thanks to Hershel’s discovery that we were able to discover the other planets that lay beyond. It is good that he was such a disciplined and meticulous observer with his hobby as much as with his music, which at the time of his discovery of the new planet was his real profession.

You would think if anyone would compose music about the planets or stars that it would have been him. I wonder why he didn’t. I guess he became very engaged in his astronomical work especially after becoming famous for the discovery of Uranus.

The planet itself is interesting in that it pretty much rotates on its side, and because of this, has seasons that are very different from what we would expect to see in planets like ours which rotate “upright”. Each season is very, very long. I don’t understand, however, how it could have had impacts if it doesn’t really have a solid surface.  I wish that I understood physics more so that I could grasp how this is possible.

Given the strangeness of the planet, that it is known as “the magician” seems appropriate. Holst’s portrayal of this concept in the Uranus piece is perfectly done. The music completely embodies a magician, in my opinion. The light, quick nature of the music seems like the kind of movements a magician, who is using sleight of hand and distracting movements while he or she performs something magical right in front of your eyes, would also have. The piece doesn’t seem to have a lot of emotion to it until near the last minute of the piece. Perhaps this is indicative of the nature of magic tricks—nothing magic really happens. They are quickly over with, fun, and meaningless. However, a lot of things can go wrong if you play with “real” magic and the ending of the piece seems to hold this ominous tone.