Kliemt 2012 Abstract Bioblast

From Bioblast
Kliemt U, Gnaiger E (2012) Power and efficiency: Tempo giusto in classical music, thermodynamics and industrial revolution, and the speed of life. Mitochondr Physiol Network 17.12.

Link: MiPNet17.12 Bioblast 2012 - Open Access

Kliemt U, Gnaiger E (2012)

Event: Bioblast 2012

Uwe Kliemt

300 years ago the first steam engine - converting the energy of steam to mechanical work - was built by Newcomen and Calley and applied in mines of England. Various applications and developments in the field of thermodynamics, particularly the steam engine, were major forces in boosting the Industrial Revolution at the time of Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) [1]. The concomitant acceleration of energy fluxes has been shaping our industrial society ever since and penetrates our lives even as far as to the most fundamental aspects of our culture, a unique development in the history of humankind. Engines and electrical gadgets are not only urging us on more and more, by overexploiting global resources they are also contributing to global warming. In today’s fast moving world, we are rich in energy, but lacking time [2]. The speed shaping our daily lives is ever increasing, yet does not win us any extra time. But what good does all the time in the world if it is bereft of energy resources and biological diversity and if future humankind is crumbling to dust under the burden of economic hyperthermia?

β€’ Keywords: MiPArt Tempo Giusto


Affiliations and author contributions

  • Tempo giusto: Willem Retze Talsma.
  • Piano: Uwe Kliemt1
  • Thermodynamics and the power of life: Erich Gnaiger
  • Mona-Fontana-Ayoub
  1. Kaudiekskamp 4a, D-22395 Hamburg

Main text

β€˜The industrial human – surrounded by dead mechanical motions – does not understand music from the pre-industrial age anymore. More precisely, this means that in today’s life we do not possess the understanding of classic natural beat and tempo. ... Nowadays, metre is mostly imposed upon us and not one’s own choice, and tempo is an occasion to show off technical-mechanical skills. For the pre-industrial human, the word beat or metre had a completely different meaning: it stood for a quasi natural order of things that one readily submitted to. The motion of a tree, the waves of the ocean, the change of seasons: All these ordered movements and rhythms are the key to really understanding early music.’ – Willem Retze Talsma (1980) [1].

Time, speed, power, and efficiency

  • Increase of speed = distance/time
Distances become longer and the time needed for them increases.
  • Increase of speed = amount/time
More letters are sent more frequently (text messages, emails) and the time needed for them increases.
  • Increase of rhythm and tempo = cycles/time
Images are moving ever faster (TV) and we stare longer and longer.
  • Increase of power (performance) = energy/time
There is an increasing waste of energy and we complain about the constantly lacking time.
  • Power versus efficiency - excessive speed is waste of energy - is excessive efficiency waste of time? [2].

Have we lost an appropriate tempo? Is acceleration part of the insanity of our time? Is there any time left for reflection? Tempo Giusto is the appropriate tempo in music and the Re-birth of Classics: a revolutionary concept for reflection.

Tempo giusto in MiPArt

Mitochondrial physiology (MiP) is taking up the topic β€œtempo” in the context of the speed of energy turnover in the living cell. Tempo and efficiency of cellular respiration (a biological combustion process) are regulated by evolutionary optimization on the basis of ergodynamic laws of nature and are attuned to various vital functions – from explosively using muscular energy during the race for prey to moderately restricting energy turnover during hibernation. Tempo Giusto is not a guide to deceleration, but rather a re-discovery of the rhythms between tension and relaxation, of the heartbeat between calm and motion, and of the sensuality and vitality of music performed in an appropriate tempo.


  1. Willem Retze Talsma (1980) Die Wiedergeburt der Klassiker. Anleitung zur Entmechanisierung der Musik. – Rebirth of Classics. A guide to the de-mechanisation of music. Wort und Welt Verlag Innsbruck.
  2. Gnaiger E (1993) Efficiency and power strategies under hypoxia. Is low efficiency at high glycolytic ATP production a paradox? In: Surviving Hypoxia: Mechanisms of Control and Adaptation. Hochachka PW, Lutz PL, Sick T, Rosenthal M, Van den Thillart G (eds) CRC Press, Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, London, Tokyo: 77-109.
  3. MiPArt Tempo Giusto German/English translations by Verena Marte.


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