About John Holland

John Holland is a composer and Professor Emeritus in the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. In the early 1980's, he co-founded Nature and Inquiry, an artists group that meets weekly to discuss ideas in art and science. The group has presented work at the MIT Media Lab, the Harvard Smithsonian Observatory, Habitat Institute, The Copley Gallery in Boston, to name a few. For the past 20 years he has taught a class that introduces artists to leading-edge ideas in science. In 2001 the Boston Globe reported that Nature, Science and Art was the most popular class at the College.

Time Expanded



(Beethoven said: ‘Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into it’s secrets’)

As a composer and musician, I am naturally interested in the subject of ‘time’. Concerns about music ultimately involve questions of time. Because we cannot apprehend time by any of the physical senses, we are compelled to investigate the aspects of nature that reveal time. Time is a measure of change, and describes in a manner the way in which events occur in the universe.

The text is divided into two sections. Part 1, The Nature of Time, is composed of detailed explanations and definitions. These texts are separated by literary references related to the way in which we experience Time.*

Part 2 is limited to a description of Commonly Defined Time Scales and Standards.

Wherever possible I have tried to limit each subject to a single page.

I have also included three bagatelles, short literary (or musical) forms typically light or playful in character.

– J. H., Lexington, Massachusetts, 2017

*(I have added the ‘poetic’ material in Part 1 for this online version of Time,  thus the new title Time Expanded.’)

@ John Holland, Time (second edition) 1995, Time Expanded 2017