Mars – The Planet Song Inspiration
The planet Mars has been a huge inspiration to many musicians, especially when it comes to writing music about space. In this article we will explore how the planet inspired some of the most famous songs around the world.
Gustav Holst was one of the first composers to write music about space, and his suite The Planets is still a well-loved classic today. Learn more about this music and listen to the song Mars below!
Mars – The Bringer of War
Mars, the red planet, has long been associated with war. In ancient Roman mythology, it was a god of war. Today it orbits the sun at an average distance of 228 million km, half as far from the Earth as its closest neighbour.
It’s also covered with towering dormant volcanoes and craters. The surface is very hostile and humans would need to wear special suits if they want to survive the harsh environment.
Holst’s Mars is a military-inspired piece with its pulsing drum beats and sonic elements. Its signature sound is a series of rapid-fire staccato notes which are then rapidly blasted out by the horns. This symphonic structure has found its way into many a film score, notably John Williams’s Imperial March from Star Wars.
Venus – The Goddess of Love
Venus was the goddess of love, beauty and procreation. She was one of the twelve gods of Olympus, along with Mars and Mercury.
Venus’s love story was a particularly famous one, because of her intense feelings for her lover Adonis. As a result of this love, she had to protect Adonis from wild animals while they hunted in the woods together.
She also made sure that Adonis wore leather shoes when he went out into the woods. She did not want to lose her lover, and so she hid him from other gods.
In the Roman Empire, Venus was a very important goddess. She was honored as the mother of Rome, and Julius Caesar even claimed her as his ancestor. She had several festivals in her honor, and a temple was built for her at the foot of a hill in Rome.
Mercury – The God of Communication
Mercury is the Roman messenger god, similar to Hermes in Greek mythology. He was also the god of communication, commerce, merchants, travellers, boundaries, and luck.
He was a cunning trickster and often pulled pranks on his enemies. His wily ways and his ability to pass through the underworld earned him a place in Roman mythology.
For example, he helped his mother Proserpina find her daughter after she was abducted by Pluto. And he also helped Apollo settle a feud by stealing his cattle and using cowgut to string the first lyre, an instrument he invented from a tortoise shell.
Despite his late entry into Roman mythology, Mercury has an interesting power, personality, and sprit that makes him a great addition to the pantheon. He was a god of commerce and communication and is often depicted with winged sandals or a staff to represent his duties as an intermediary, traveler, and God who transcends the binary.
Neptune – The Mystic
Mars is the planet that represents the Roman god of war. It is known for its energy, strength, and impulsiveness.
Holst uses his composition to musically portray these astrological characteristics. The first movement is called “Mars” and it is an energetic piece that focuses on a repetitive ostinato rhythm.
He also incorporates elements of impulsiveness into this piece, such as dividing a bar into different rhythms, such as four-quaver bars or six-quaver bars.
This piece also features solo instruments, such as the French horn and the celeste. The melody is played by these solo instruments and then they are surrounded by strings.
The last movement is called “Neptune” and it is a very mysterious piece that portrays the non-corporeal nature of the planet. It is accompanied by beautiful harp and string melodies that slide over each other. Toward the end of this movement Holst adds a female chorus to the music, adding a mystic feeling.