Its introduction is one of the most recognisable pieces of music ever written; among many of its uses it includes that of Stanley Kubrick as the key musical motif in his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. (A truncated version of the introduction featuring only the first triad and fanfare and repetitive tympani thumping was used for animated spoofs of the film from Sesame Workshop's The Electric Company.) The introduction is also well-known as entrance music for performers including professional wrestler Ric Flair and musician Elvis Presley, and the athletics teams for the University of South Carolina.
The piece starts with a sustained low C , 32' pitch, on the organ. This leads into the brass fanfare of the Introduction and introduces the "dawn" motif (from "Zarathustra's Prologue", the text of which is included in the printed score) that permeates the structure of the entire work: the motif includes three notes, in intervals of a fifth and octave, as C-G-C (also called the Nature-motif).
"Of the Backworldsmen" begins with 'cellos, double-basses and organ pedal before opening up into a lyrical passage for the entire section. The following two sections, "Of the Great Yearning" and "Of Joys and Passions", both introduce motifs that are more chromatic in nature.
"Of Science" features an unusual fugue beginning in the double-basses and cellos, which consists of all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. It is one of the very few sections in the orchestral literature where the basses must play a contra-b (lowest b on a piano).
"The Convalescent" acts as a reprise of the original motif, and climaxes with a massive chord in the entire orchestra.
"The Dance Song" features a very prominent violin solo throughout the section.
The end of the "Song of the Night Wanderer" leaves the piece half resolved, with high flutes, piccolos and violins playing a B major chord, while the lower strings pluck a C.
One of the major compositional themes of the piece is the contrast between the keys of B major, representing humanity, and C major, representing the universe. Although B and C are adjacent notes, these keys are tonally dissimilar: B major uses five sharps, while C major has none.
OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH ISSUES GRANTS NOTICE TO ATTRACT OUTSTANDING FACULTY MEMBERS OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION (HEREAFTER ALSO CALLED 'UNIVERSITIES') TO DEPARTMENT OF NAVY'S RESEARCH PROGRAM, TO SUPPORT THEIR RESEARCH, TO ENCOURAGE THEIR TEACHING, RESEARCH CAREERS
Dec 08, 2009; WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 -- Office of Naval Research issues discretionary grants notice to attract outstanding faculty members of...