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Voyager 1 is about eleven billion miles from Earth and traveling at a rate of nearly thirty thousand miles an hour. Its sister craft, Voyager 2, is not far behind. Should these two spacecrafts ever encounter intelligent life other than our own, each carries a gold-plated copper disc with sounds and images intended to convey a sample of what life is like on Earth.


The audio tracks encoded on Voyager’s golden records are:

Bach, Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 in F Major (BWV 1047), first movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor.

Java, court gamelan, Kinds of Flowers, recorded by Robert Brown.

Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle.

Zaire, pygmy girls’ initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull.

Australia, Aborigine songs, Morning Star and Devil Bird, recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes.

Mexico, El Cascabel, performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi Mexico.

Johnny B Goode, written and performed by Chuck Berry.

New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan.

Japan, shakuhachi, Tsuru No Sugomori (“Crane’s Nest”), performed by Goro Yamaguchi.

Bach, Gavotte en Rondeau from the Partita in E Major (BWV 1006), performed by Arthur Grumiaux, violin.

Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor.

Georgia (then a Soviet Socialist Republic), chorus, Tchakrulo, collected by Radio Moscow.

Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima.

Melancholy Blues, performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven.

Azerbaijan (then a Soviet Socialist Republic), bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow.

Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor.

Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II (BWV 870), Glenn Gould, piano.

Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, first movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor.

Bulgaria, Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin, sung by Valya Balkanska.

Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes.

Holborne, The Fairie Round, performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London.

Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service.

Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen.

China, ch’in, Flowing Streams, performed by Kuan P’ing-hu.

India, raga, Jaat Kahan Ho, sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar.

Dark Was the Night, written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson.

Beethoven, String Quartet no. 13 in B flat Major, op. 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet.