Johann Sebastian Bach, Die Kunst der Fuge
Johann Sebastian Bach’s, Die Kunst der Fuge, shows how musical themes, that already sound beautiful when listened to independently can, when played simultaneously, make up a complex, but even more beautiful whole. A full understanding and recognition of all the different elements hidden within this masterpiece will require years of listening, but will eventually be impossible for most people. Only the analysis of its score and understanding of the sometimes strict rules where contrapuntal compositions are subjected to, may provide the insight necessary to fully enjoy all details hidden within this masterpiece. Studying the score of Die Kunst der Fuge may not seem to be an attractive activity, but provides the one who has done it with the big reward of an increased understanding and an even more inspiring event when listening to Die Kunst der Fuge again.

Studying the complex nature of ecosystems is like studying Die Kunst der Fuge, only this time a score is not available. Also the rules that determine the interactions between species are still largely unknown, although scientist have been able to come up with intriguing and plausible hypothesis. In this thesis some of these hypothesis are used in an attempt to write a draft score, only a caricature of real ecosystems, trying to fetch the essential processes occurring within them. Maybe it will inspire people to observe and describe ecosystems in a new, different, way.

This text was the preface to my Master’s thesis (see Publications).

The first Contrapunctus from Bach’s Art of Fugue, performed by Kimiko Ishizaka, with an animated graphical score on YouTube:

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