Fireworks Rise to the Occasion

Wednesday night's 20-minute firework display is one of sight and sound. Hundreds of exploding shells will light up the night, following the rhythms of 16 patriotic songs broadcast at the Washington Monument. Each effect in the sky has been coordinated and timed to a carefully choreographed script. This ensures that the music you hear compliments the shapes and colors you see.

The '1812 Overture' is the finale for television audiences and a mini-finale for those watching on the Mall. The musical piece is considered a high-intensity song and has many quick-burning effects and flashes of light to compliment the rapid tempo and booming cannon. Here is a look at how pyrotechnic engineers launch fireworks to match the swells and intensity of the music.

SOURCES: Tom Baker, Cobblestone Video; Lansden Hill, Pyro Shows, Inc.; National Symphony Orchestra; National Park Service; WMATA | CREDITS: Graphic by Todd Lindeman; Reporting by April Umminger, The Washington Post - July 4, 2007

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