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Carl Sagan's elusive composers

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PDR
509853.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:37 am Reply with quote

In this week's show Stevie re-used the line (previously used on an edition with Jeremy Clarkson IIRC) about Carl Sagan saying that the inclusion of a composer's work on the Voyager spacecraft would "just be showing off". This time he said the composer was Bach, but I'm pretty sure that last time he said it was either Strauss or Beethoven - anyone know which was actually the right one?

I also wish that (after the earlier put-down on the subject of giant vacuum cleaners) it would have been rather amusing if Alan Davies had responded to the remark with "I remember seeing that on a popular quiz programme called QI"...

:0)

PDR

 
suze
509856.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:46 am Reply with quote

No Strauss, but J S Bach and Beethoven were both there.

The full track listing for the record which traveled on the Voyager mission can be see here.

 
Ian Dunn
509858.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:47 am Reply with quote

I'm sure that Stephen said Bach the first time too.

 
DJ One Record
510233.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:37 pm Reply with quote

Series B Episode 4. The one with Clarkson, Cryer and Hardy.

Here's a trivia question: what does this episode have in common with Series D Ep 3 ("Dogs") that neither episode has in common with any other in the entire run of QI?


Last edited by DJ One Record on Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Gluben
510246.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:50 pm Reply with quote

Isn't episode 3 of series D "Dogs", whereas episode 4 is "Dictionaries"?

 
DJ One Record
510257.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:08 pm Reply with quote

You're quite right, and I have edited it accordingly.

 
JumpingJack
510260.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:16 pm Reply with quote

It was Bach, both times.

I first heard the idea that including Bach would be 'showing off' from Douglas Adams, whom Stephen also knew very well - so I imagine that's where he got it from.

It sounds like a typical Douglas line.

I can't imagine the Voyager team (or indeed anyone else keen to contact an alien civilization) limiting their choices for reasons of false modesty.

 
Celebaelin
510311.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:54 pm Reply with quote

Definitely about Bach but not, according to the BoGI, said by Sagan. I can't find the quote at the mo' but it was said by one of Sagan's colleagues according to the book.

 
Gluben
510315.  Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:57 pm Reply with quote

DJ One Record wrote:
Series B Episode 4. The one with Clarkson, Cryer and Hardy.

Here's a trivia question: what does this episode have in common with Series D Ep 3 ("Dogs") that neither episode has in common with any other in the entire run of QI?


Hmm, something to do with Clarkson? Or the scores? Give us a clue!

 
DJ One Record
510464.  Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:13 am Reply with quote

Gluben wrote:
DJ One Record wrote:
Series B Episode 4. The one with Clarkson, Cryer and Hardy.

Here's a trivia question: what does this episode have in common with Series D Ep 3 ("Dogs") that neither episode has in common with any other in the entire run of QI?


Hmm, something to do with Clarkson? Or the scores? Give us a clue!


You're sort of on the right lines with Clarkson. It's got something to do with the guests.

 
Funcharge
912872.  Wed May 30, 2012 7:06 pm Reply with quote

I believe biologist Lewis Thomas wrote about streaming Bach first in Lives of a Cell (1974).

Quote:
"Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable for us to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later. And, to do ourselves justice, music would give a fairer picture of what we are really like than some of the other things we might be sending, like Time, say, or a history of the U.N. or Presidential speeches. We could send out our science, of course, but just think of the wincing at this end when the polite comments arrive two hundred years from now. Whatever we offer as today's items of liveliest interest are bound to be out of date and irrelevant, maybe even ridiculous. I think we should stick to music."

 
Jenny
912873.  Wed May 30, 2012 8:03 pm Reply with quote

Welcome to QI, Funcharge :-)

Interesting point Sagan makes there, but of course it does assume that aliens have hearing systems that can pick up that sort of sound, and if so that they wouldn't find it deeply unpleasant rather than very beautiful.

 
'yorz
915093.  Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:39 pm Reply with quote



People were remarkable short-arses in them days....

 
RLDavies
915198.  Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:54 am Reply with quote

One point in favour of Bach is that so much of his work is clearly mathematical. Assuming the aliens can detect the sound at all, they should be able to detect the patterns in it and recognise it as the product of intelligence, even if they don't find it aesthetically pleasing.

 
Spud McLaren
915214.  Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:25 am Reply with quote

As an aside, I remember Roy Plomley getting a little irritated by Sagan's choice of music for Desert Island Discs. All his choices were from the Cosmos soundtrack album.

Incidentally, expect Stewie Griffin to be providing an update:

"On August 5, 2011, plans were announced for a sequel to the series, bringing up-to-date special effects and scientific discoveries to the themes and messages of the original series. The new series, referred to as Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, is slated to air on Fox sometime between Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. It is to be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and will be produced by popular science broadcaster and author, and Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, and Seth MacFarlane."
- Wiki


Last edited by Spud McLaren on Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total

 

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