My father’s geology lessons on the road now inspire my musical compositions


(The following was submitted by listener Ben Leeds Carson, composer and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Receive the Geo Quiz by SMS to your phone and find out how you can submit your own quiz by sending “Geo Quiz “at 69866)

As I was listening to The World recently, I remembered a quiz my dad was giving us. It’s here:

Which of the following US states: Connecticut, Nebraska and California, which lie entirely south of Canada’s southernmost border?

Surprisingly, the answer to this Geo Quiz is – none! (Note: Geo Text game winners understand Ginger in Freestone, California, Daniel in Kansas City, KS, Mast in Cimarron Hills CO, and Susam in Birch Island, Maine)

The US border with Canada at its southernmost point in Lake Erie dips just below the 42nd parallel, meaning it lies just below the northern borders of Connecticut, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah and California. In other words, the U.S. border with Canada, when it runs as far south as possible, is all the way down into Lake Erie and although many people think Lake Erie is At the northern border of the United States, many United States states actually reach north from this point.

Canada’s Middle Island (the southernmost point of Middle Island is at latitude 41 ° 40’53 north) is in fact more than a quarter of a degree south of the 42nd parallel, making it more than a quarter of a degree south of the 42nd parallel. places further south than 27 of the 50 continental United States. .

When I was young, my father, who is still a geologist at Whitman College, his research took us several times across the United States. We have driven through the United States and Canada almost a dozen times.

When my dad was driving he paid almost as much attention to the scenery as to where we went, so there were often smart little quizzes coming out about Missoula flooding, glaciation, or tectonics. plates from our continent.

It was almost like we got a geology lesson every day in the car. One of the things a geologist knows about the landscape that many of us don’t know when we just look at it superficially, is that there are so many layers of time that are evident all in one place. and all in one view.

For me, knowing that time exists a little at a time in one place has a huge impact on my work as a composer. It encourages me to think of music that can be fast and slow at the same time, it encourages me to think that the beats occur in many different directions and places at the same time.

Below, an opera excerpt. I’m going to put the story aside for now as it includes “Star Trek”, Orpheus, the Underworld, Montana, and pretty much anything you can think of.

As you listen to this passage, you may hear pizzicato violins, or clarinets, in the foreground, reflecting the concerns of the people around them as they live, while around them there are broken punctuations of a trumpet or a longer chord reflecting eons of time, centuries or decades.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from my opera called, You know why i came and I hope you will enjoy my Geo Quiz.

About Madeline J. Carter

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