Hyperbolic Guitar – An Explanation

It was late one night when my wife Irene Lundgaard suggested to me that I should write a piece of hyperbolic music, my immediate reaction was to say no, I was musically preoccupied working on something else at the time, don’t normally write to a formula and have only ten fingers. Irene was heavily involved organizing and contributing to the Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition which was due to go on display at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. I went along to the opening of the exhibition and was deeply impressed by the variety, colour and amount of crocheted coral reef on display and by the toxic reef section which was made entirely from recycled material. The Irish Reef is a satellite of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project created and curated by Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring, both of whom attended the opening.

Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 3Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 2Hundreds n thousands of Toxins - detail 1
Hundreds-and-thousands of Toxins by Irene Lundgaard – details

The connection between crochet and hyperbolic geometry originates with Dr Daina Taimia who first came up with the idea of crocheting objects to illustrate hyperbolic space. Some weeks after the opening of the exhibition I attended a lecture on hyperbolic geometry by Dr Taimina at the Science Gallery and it was after the lecture while she was signing copies of her interesting book Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes that I got to meet and talk to her husband Professor of Mathematics David Henderson who was kind enough to explain to me briefly what might be involved in trying to compose a piece of hyperbolic music. In the days that followed I worked on this idea using a hyperbolic crochet pattern provided by Irene where I substituted notes for stitches and tried to replicate the exponential increase indicated in the pattern after every eight bars of music. The result for better or worse is a tune called Hyperbolic Guitar, you can listen to it on YouTube here and you can buy it there

Hundreds n thousands of ToxinsHundreds-and-thousands of Toxins by Irene Lundgaard

The Irish Reef exhibition is due to open at the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, County Wicklow on Sunday September 12th from 3 – 5 PM and will run until October 29th.