This lesson shall take into account the concepts of Cosmology from 1619.In order to teach this lesson you will need the following:
1. Tape, “Harmony of the World”; A Realization for the Ear of Johannes Kelpler’s Astronomical Data from Harmonices Mundi 1619, Realized by Willie Ruff and John Rodgers 1985 The Kepler Label.
2. The Companion Article to the Tape from American Scientist, Vol. 67, No. 3. May-June 1979, pp. 286-292 Kepler’s Harmony of the World: A Realization for the Ear by Yale Profeesors Willie Ruff and John Rodgers.
3. A map of the Solar system that is either visible to the class or a hand out that shows all of the planets. There might be a over head or poster in the front of the class that can be used.
4. A piano or electric keyboard; if you are using an electric keyboard, make sure that the ranges is at least four to five octaves.
5. Notations for the Planets both modern and medieval nomenclature described by Kepler;
Figure 6. provides the medieval notation while this unit will have a transcription of the planets to bass and treble clefs.
This lesson should precede the study of intervals. Depending the class, you might want to introduce the concept of the overtone series if it has not been done so as well as concords such as the octave, the fifth, or the major third and how those intervals represent simple but exact numerical ratios like 2:1, 3:2, or 4:3 before this lesson.
At the start of the class, play the first five minutes of “The Harmony of the World” Side 1. Do not tell the class what you are playing. After listening to the tape, have the class explain to each other what they have just heard.
Present three pictures of the different views of the solar system throughout history; that include the present day view, kepler’s view of the solar system and Copernicus circular orbits of the planets.
Have a student come up to the keyboard and play the notes for mercury from the modern notation provided in this lesson.
In conclusion, discuss the relationship between kepler’s involvement in both music and astronomy. Also discuss how the early Greeks reasoned heavenly revolutions must exhibit the perfect form, the circle as seen later by Copernicus’s circular planetary orbits. Without becoming side tracked with math equations show the import of Kepler’s laws and the planet’s elliptical orbits.