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2. History of Science [IWTK]



 Genre: Showtunes

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I wrote "I Want To Know" in 1991 as part of an Artist-In-Residence program at a high school back when I as a Wisconsin Artist and president of the Wisconsin Drama Association children's theatre division. I recently was asked to remaster the tracks to sell to schools in New Zealand. I'd forgotten how fun the music and lyrics were. I decided to share them all here.

It is, more or less, a history of the western world in comic book form. The students and I researched history in various categories and compressed it into lyrics. The style of performance was ensemble-based, improvisationally-conceived, low-budget theatrical. Lots of partial costume pieces, people playing multiple roles, open staging chaos. Very fun to perform (and, if you were part of the process, edify on several levels, hopefully).

Part of the residency was setting up a music lab in which I arranged and recorded the backing music. (Part of the grant.) I taught the students how to use the equipment as we arranged the music with various keyboards. I recall there being an M1, a Casio something, and an early Mac running Performer.

I've uploaded the tracks in reverse order so that they'll appear on my song list in the correct order. Here is a complete list. The tracks run about 40 minutes if you listen in one sitting. (The show also has spoken scenes with no music.)

1. I Want to Know - opening
2. The History of Science
3. The History of Medicine
4. The History of Transportation
5. The Industrial Revolution
6. I Want to Know - closing

This is scene moves quickly through the ages, giving a general "history" of science. Although the opening sequence takes longer, as does the true arc of historical change. The entire ensemble participates, quickly morphing through various stages of history. I make a cameo singing the "Einstein" section cuz the kids thought I look like a mad scientist when I'd sing that part in rehearsal...
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It all began in the days of magic, when spirits and incantations were as important as theories and equations. Magic wasn't merely a way to deceive and entertain people at a carnival. It was a way of understanding the immense powers of Nature, powers that dictated nearly every aspect of human life. Magic was a combining of prayer and science, and the outcome was often unexplainably effective.

I want to know. Oh, I want to know. I want to know.

Through the mist, deep from the heart. . .Rise!
Come with me, right where it starts: Rise!

It wasn't fear. It wasn't pride, that drove us on to learn more.
It wasn't tears or shame inside or revelation's fire.
It was a need, a caring need to know the truth at all cost.
A passing on from son to son the wisdom each one fostered.

I want to know. Oh, I want to know. I want to know.

All alive, Spirits in charge, Rise!
Moon to Sun, All are One. Rise!

Then from this need, this open mind that watched the world so closely,
The truth was freed, did slowly rise, to change the course of hist'ry.
As knowledge grew of what was true, we gathered great inventions.
We charted time, made facts align, that let us make predictions.

From a world alive with spirits came remedies and treatments made from herbs and roots and plants of every variety. Tools of stone, sharper than steel, were crafted. Spears and bows and arrows were developed. Wild pigs and goats and cattle were caught and tamed. People began to understand the Cycle of Seasons, the best time to hunt and harvest. They were ready for the next New Epoch in human history: the Invention of Agriculture. Able to live off of planted crops and herds of domestic animals, humankind began to spread into every corner of the globe.

I want to know. Oh, yes, I want to know!

In Sumeria and Babylon, and especially Egypt, agricultural communities blossomed into vast empires. The domestication of the horse and invention of the wheel brought new mobility and trade.

From the flooding Nile we will harvest crops in style.
Agricultural fair is what Egyptians share.
From astronomy we devised a calender to predict
the range of each seasonal change
With arithmetic we learned to add & subtract,
for accounting well; we can buy and sell.
In the ancient world, with the dawn of math and art,
moving like a wheel, civilization got its start.

Now the Greeks, men of thought and of logic,
bring about a new age of great change.
Socrates, Archimedes and Euclid,
minds that inspire, explain.
Then we build on the shoulders of giants,
here in Rome, the foundation is laid.
We begin feats of great engineering;
watch as the way is paved.

For hundreds of years, the Roman Empire continued, constructing thousands of miles of roads and aqueducts that brought fresh water from the mountains to the cities. But the real advancements in science were taking place in the Arabic and Hindu world.

The Persians founded preventative medicine and systematized astronomy. Arabic numbers and the decimal system became the basic "language" of modern mathematics, especially the invention of the number zero.

All this happened as Europe rested in a Medieval mist. An "Age of Faith" held sway over imaginations.

I lift up mine eyes only unto the heavens, never to look upon the Earth.
Yet, some preserve the ancient scientific volumes, preparing one day for a new rebirth.

The Complete Works of Aristotle.
Ptolemy's Movement of Celestial Bodies.
The Fundamental Nature of Matter by Democritus.

And, in time, the curiosity of mankind was unleashed again, sparking the Age of Awakening, called, "the Renaissance."

Niklas Copernicus redrew the universe, placing the sun where it did belong.
Controlled experiments of Galilaeo found that the Laws of Nature were strong.
As Leonardo, painting a smile just so, sketched a hundred or more inventions.

Newton sat below a tree, wondering what these Laws could be.
When an apple from the tree fell upon his head.
He discovered gravity, laws of heat and elasticity.
Newton work on optics, too, the prism and the lens he knew.
And don't forget poor Benjamin with kite and key electrical.
Monocles and spectacles and clocks and all things practical.
A veritable downpour of inventions came our way.
Days of exploration dawned: Light and knowledge spread.

Then arrived Electricity. Theories thrived of what this could be.
'Twas the Age of Inventions from Edison to Bell. Alexander Graham Bell.

Einstein, he was to redefine all time.
Einstein, he took a jumbled mess and made rhyme.
Prime time Einstein, he was to intertwine the old line,
Combine new line; Einstein, he'll streamline your design,
Refine, divine. Einstein.

It's Modern Man, spinning like a turbine, electric driven, lit by neon.
It's Modern Man (We split the atom) More power to him (And - go - pow!)
It's Modern Man. New transistor man. He's miniaturized. He's computerized.
He's ready to rise. The new explorer. He's changed the face, near and far, of living space...

Changes are now coming so fast, we can barely keep up.
Yet, the power of the new technologies makes it more important than ever for us to understand what we are doing!

The Theory of Relativity. E=Mc2. Quantum Mechanics.
DNA and Genetic Engineering.
Computers and Superconductivity. Space Exploration and Space Travel.
Fission. And Fusion. And Energy Generation.

Open wide your eyes as we create the future;
joining, side by side, in a wondrous adventure.
Look how far we've come, more with each generation.
Learning day by day, more with each exploration.

New technologies, new creations to conjure.
New discoveries and new questions to ponder.
We can only guess what the future holds for us.
Will we be prepared? Will we know the right answers?

Open wide your eyes as we create the future;
joining, side by side, in a wondrous adventure.
We can only guess what the future holds for us.
Will we be prepared? Will we know the right answers?

I want to know. I need to know. Oh, yes, I want to know!
Song Stats
Hits: 2161
Comments: 6
Fans: 8
Plays: 53
Downloads: 28

Uploaded: Mar 16, 2012 - 12:00:25 PM
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 - 01:02:52 PM Last Played: May 02, 2019 - 11:49:00 AM
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snowdragon said 2622 days ago (March 17th, 2012)

I've always wanted to find an excuse to put Einstein in the lyrics :)

But as someone with a scientific background (geology in particular) I found this an excellent summation.
Check out my latest song called Nightmares
abzwork said 2622 days ago (March 17th, 2012)
I Want To Know...
I am captivated my friend..a positive and totally encompassing work so far...I'm riding
this all the way..most excellent so far, Big Smile City all the way..:):):)peace
Check out my latest song called "BusyBody"
Les_Kloo said 2621 days ago (March 18th, 2012)
A paean to science. Well, that's a nice summing up of its history. The connection between magic, religion and science is not often acknowledged. I can see that you know what you're talking about simply by virtue of your use of the term "quantum mechanics'" instead of "quantum physics, " which is the term of choice with today's New Agers, for example. It would take much longer to touch on everything -- for example, no Darwin, Lyell, Boltzmann, Maxwell, Faraday, Planck, Bohr, etc. --- but this is a nice summation. Your subject is presented in a positive light, and that is so refreshing, given the rampant cynicism that's present in America these days as regards science and scientists. Enjoyable all around.
Check out my latest song called They Don't Lie
dave_b said 2620 days ago (March 19th, 2012)
History of Science [IWTK]
Covers a lot of ground lyrically :). Glad Aristotle and Copernicus got a nod. Terrific vocals and production sounds great.
Check out my latest song called Llarions Blues
Vic Holman said 2617 days ago (March 21st, 2012)
i want to know
part 2 very cool music and a science lesson as well........ i really get off on the vocals here.
Check out my latest song called Stuck Here In Your Past
jiguma said 2602 days ago (April 5th, 2012)
Lucky kids!
I bet a lot of lives were changed as a result of all this wonderful music Tobin - congratulations.
Check out my latest song called Metro Gnome (Beep Beep)
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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