How would Music sound on Mars?

I came across this site from NASA that models how sound would behave in the Mars atmosphere. Due to the differences in composition, temperature, and density of the atmosphere, sound travels differently than here on Earth.

For example, the higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorbs and filters out higher frequency sounds. The “Clair de Lune” example on the site, shows how the muffled the piano sounds.

This made me think about how “Martian music” might sound. If there were sentient beings on the surface of Mars, how might they compose music? What instruments would work in that atmosphere?


I have no idea, but thank you for this opening. Good stuff.

All I can think of right now after a long day at work is John Durham-Peter’s book Marvelous Clouds. Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media (University of Chicago Press, 2015) where he works, among other things, on effects of media on cognition and perception, e.g. what would crustacean mathematics be, or how might memory work for creatures submerged in water.


Similarly to the original post, it looks like NASA is accepting musical submissions to accompany it’s Lucy mission:

"Are you a musician – composer, performer, music educator, or student – inspired by exploration and discovery? Share your inspiration in your unique voice, and join with others to create the Lucy Soundscape, a public collection of original music inspired by NASA’s Lucy mission launching in 2021!

The Lucy spacecraft will carry robotic cameras to places no one has ever seen: the Trojan asteroids, remnants from the formation of our Solar System’s giant planets, like Jupiter. In an epic twelve-year voyage of discovery, Lucy – named for a fossil human ancestor – will visit seven of these prehistoric treasures that hold the lost tales about the origin of our solar system.

Lucy’s team of scientists, engineers, managers, and other professionals have many stories to tell, in many different voices, but some stories are told best through music! NASA invites composers, performers, music educators and students to add their voices to Lucy’s.

The Lucy Soundscape will be the collected original music of everyone who participates and shares their creativity with NASA and the world, all connected to each other through the Lucy Motif:

Lucy Motif - high version - (MP3 file)

The Lucy Team composed and adopted this three-note phrase as a symbolic “musical mission patch.”

Any original music, composed or improvised, instrumental or vocal, that uses the Lucy Motif in some way to express a feeling or tell a story of inspiration and discovery can be shared through the Lucy Soundscape. Through the combined creativity of participating artists, all starting from the same three notes, the Soundscape has the potential to become an evolving musical ecosystem that develops in unforeseeable ways as the mission itself develops and yields unforeseeable discoveries.

Add your creative voice and join the Lucy Soundscape!"


This looks really interesting - thanks for the recommendation!