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Georgian Music in Space

In 1970s, two American space probes Pioneers 10 and 11 carried small metal plaques identifying their time and place of origin for the benefit of any other spacefarers that might find them in the distant future. With this example before them, NASA placed a more ambitious message aboard Voyager 1 and 2 - a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to any possible extraterrestrial life the probes may encounter on the way.

Plaque on the Pioneer Probes containing essential information on the human civilization
(click to enlarge)
Map of the Space Flights of Pioneer and Voyager Probes
(click to enlarge)

The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by world-renowned scholar Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played.

The 115 images are encoded in analog form. The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music. Georgian music, song Chakrulo, is included in this short list.

Once the Voyager spacecrafts left the solar system, it will take forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system. As Carl Sagan has noted, “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.”

Music On Voyager Record

·    Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor. 4:40
·    Java, court gamelan, "Kinds of Flowers," recorded by Robert Brown. 4:43
·    Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle. 2:08
·    Zaire, Pygmy girls' initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull. 0:56
·    Australia, Aborigine songs, "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird," recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes. 1:26
·    Mexico, "El Cascabel," performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México. 3:14
·    "Johnny B. Goode," written and performed by Chuck Berry. 2:38
·    New Guinea, men's house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan. 1:20
·    Japan, shakuhachi, "Tsuru No Sugomori" ("Crane's Nest,") performed by Goro Yamaguchi. 4:51
·    Bach, "Gavotte en rondeaux" from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin, performed by Arthur Grumiaux. 2:55
·    Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor. 2:55
·    Georgia, chorus, "Chakrulo," collected by Radio Moscow. 2:18
·    Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima. 0:52
·    "Melancholy Blues," performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven. 3:05
·    Azerbaijan, bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow. 2:30
·    Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor. 4:35
·    Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1. Glenn Gould, piano. 4:48
·    Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor. 7:20
·    Bulgaria, "Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin," sung by Valya Balkanska. 4:59
·    Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes. 0:57
·    Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, "The Fairie Round," performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. 1:17
·    Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service. 1:12
·    Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen. 0:38
·    China, ch'in, "Flowing Streams," performed by Kuan P'ing-hu. 7:37
·    India, raga, "Jaat Kahan Ho," sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar. 3:30
·    "Dark Was the Night," written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson. 3:15
·    Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet. 6:37