An Electronic Journal of
Geography and Mathematics

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December, 2013

Sandra Lach Arlinghaus

The Earth inspires us in different ways; some respond to the beauty of the sun setting beyond the spherical horizon with quiet admiration while others respond in their own special ways to the boldness and grandeur of a mighty river.  Our responses are of course conditioned by what we know and practice in our daily lives.  Consider the response of music composers not only to nationalistic pride and place names, but also awe-inspiring rock formations, environmental issues, political situations, cultural backdrop, and so forth.  Please add to this list by sending me, via email (, your own favorites and we'll accumulate them in a later issue of Solstice as a sort of geo-musical atlas.  An earlier Solstice article suggested a different context for this sort of idea (Arlinghaus, S. and Blake, B., "Two Rivers Ridge:  Capturing Art, Solstice, Volume XV, No. 2., 2004).

Is music inspired by the Earth somehow more moving to you than other pieces, independent of genre?  Others have noted similar ideas; but, as geography is more than place names--so too is a musical response to patterns on, or seen from, the Earth's surface.  Here are links to a few sites listing place name music, elsewhere on the Internet.  An additional list follows reflecting the abundance of geo-music beyond place name music, supplemented when it seemed natural, with related poetic quotations.

Added inspiration is often fostered in museums.  Consider, for example, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ (  Visit instruments, played in the field, from around the world and organized by continent and region within the walls of the museum, often with associated fabrics, costumes, You Tubes of indigenous population playing the displayed instruments in natural settings, and more.  Visit the Experience Room and try your hand, along with others, on a variety of instruments.  The author is shown below trying her hand with portions of the Indonesian Gamelan interactive display!

Photo by Barbara  Grantham, November, 2013.



Jean Sibelius, Karelia Suite--Intermezzo
Felix Mendelsohn,  Hebrides Overture
Don McLean, American Pie

  • Edvard Grieg, Peace of the Woods
  • Franz Schubert / Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,  Heidenröslein
    • "I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils.  Beside the lake, beneath the trees; Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.  ... Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance."  William Wordsworth
  • Johann Strauss II, Tales from the Vienna Woods


  • Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Blowing in the Wind
  • Edith Piaf,  Milord  
    • "The North wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will the robin do then,  Poor thing?"  Mother Goose
  • Dinah Shore, Buttons and Bows
    • "Oh, East is East and West is West, And never the 'twain shall meet."  Rudyard Kipling



Solstice:  An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics
Institute of Mathematical Geography (IMaGe).
All rights reserved worldwide, by IMaGe and by the authors.
Please contact an appropriate party concerning citation of this article:

Solstice was a Pirelli INTERNETional Award Semi-Finalist, 2001 (top 80 out of over 1000 entries worldwide)

One article in Solstice was a Pirelli INTERNETional Award Semi-Finalist, 2003 (Spatial Synthesis Sampler).

Solstice is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals maintained by the University of Lund where it is maintained as a "searchable" journal.

Solstice is listed on the journals section of the website of the American Mathematical Society,
Solstice is listed in Geoscience e-Journals
IMaGe is listed on the website of the Numerical Cartography Lab of The Ohio State University:

Congratulations to all Solstice contributors.
Remembering those who are gone now but who contributed in various ways to Solstice or to IMaGe projects, directly or indirectly, during the first 28 years of IMaGe:

Allen K. Philbrick  Alma S. Lach   Donald F. Lach | Frank Harary | William D. DrakeH. S. M. Coxeter | Saunders Mac Lane | Chauncy D. Harris | Norton S. Ginsburg | Sylvia L. Thrupp | Arthur L. Loeb | George Kish
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