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String Theory

by John Mayrose



String Theory is my Ph.D. dissertation at Duke University.
For the better part of the last century, the physics community been searching for a Theory of Everything: a theory that successfully unifies relativity and quantum mechanics. Proven through observations, the theory of relativity explains the universe on the very large scale, and quantum mechanics explains the universe on the very minute scale, but the two theories are incompatible; the fluctuations and uncertainties of quantum mechanics disrupt the smooth surface required for relativity’s calculations. Although it cannot and possibly never will be proven, in recent years, string theory has shown promise in uniting these two theories of physics. By positing that all forces and particles are made from the same string vibrating at different frequencies and tensions over eleven dimensions, string theory smoothes out the chaotic nature of quantum mechanics, making it compatible with relativity.

The conflict between the large and small is the motivation behind the ensemble and its organization in String Theory. Separated into four groups of three instruments each (group 1: two violins and guitar; group 2: trumpet, bass trombone, and piano; group 3: clarinet/bass clarinet, double bass, and marimba; and group 4: oboe, viola, and cello) and percussion, the smaller ensembles work independently and at times compete, collide, and cooperate to create a larger whole, akin to the baroque concerto grosso with four concertinos, but no orchestra.

String Theory is separated into five movements, each musically depicting a historically significant theory in physics.


released October 21, 2006


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John Mayrose Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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