Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab works with scientists and museums to turn information and data into music. Why music? Not only do we love music, but it just so happens that music is composed of a very rich palette of qualities upon which data may be mapped and thereby perceived by the brain through the auditory channel. Music stimulates cognition and memory, and offers those who are blind or visually handicapped the opportunity to understand information and gain knowledge in new ways. By working with scientists who are shedding new light on our world, and the museums and centers who are helping to disseminate it, we seek to create innovative, pleasurable and accessible audio information presentation solutions for the public to "get it" by hearing. Whether online or live, our work makes science accessible to more people through listening to the music of the spheres.
Created by computer scientist and composer/percussionist Marty Quinn, these sonifications demonstrate how data of all kinds can be translated into music for the purposes of expanding and enhancing our perception of the earth and our environment. Dr. Rita Colwell, former director of The National Science Foundation, cited this work in one of her speeches for being an innovative merging of art and science.
Last year , we toured "Walk on the Sun" (see pictures above) as part of new NASA sponsored program under the title "Light Runners". We showed the exhibit for a week at a time in 12 cities at science centers and run special programs for those who are blind and visually impaired at the science center or at centers for the blind. We are pleased to announce the exhibit may now be purchased from DRSRL. See the exhibits link or click here for details on Walk on the Sun.
The Light Runners program was based on a 2-year NASA Ideas grant to create a museum exhibit based on sonified, musically encoded representations of data and imagery from the STEREO Space Mission. New image sonification and visualization techniques for solar images and data has also led directly to new techniques to present works of art, increasing the accessible of art by making the content of paintings generate music based on the color data present in the pixels in a photograph of the art. We showcased and discussing these approaches at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference poster session on Sept 6th, 2007 in Chicago and the Soundscapes panel at the Art Education for the Blind 2007 Conference in NYC Sept 29, 2007 sponsored by Art Beyond Site and the MET. The grant included collaboration with the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, NH and UC Berkeley's Space Science Lab. See ArtMusic to see and hear examples of art as music.
New! Photomusic, ImageSonification and STEREO Solar Image Music pages related to image sonification.
New! Rock Around the Bow Shock: Sonification of data from the Cluster satellites. Recently featured in the 2007 July edition of ASTC magazine.
Solar Songs, recently commissioned by the Space Science Center at UNH, presents 7 sonifications of solar wind ACE spacecraft data during April of 1998. Iron/Oxygen ratios, electron charge states and up to 6 variables are presented simultaneously.
The Seismic Sonata is a musical retelling of the 1994 Northridge California Earthquake. Commissioned by the IRIS Consortium for use in museum displays, this sonification presents the seismic signals as heard from Albuquerque, NM. Various types of waves (P and S) can be heard as they strike over a 15-minute period. Dramatic sonifications feature the concept of an audio zoom to hear both fine and gross details of the wave shapes.
The Climate Symphony describes the ice core research of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project II and explains how the mathematical analysis of the data was transformed into music in a process known as sonification. The music expresses 8 climatic elements over 110,000 years as a 7 1/2 minute symphony. It was recently featured at the National Science Foundation and the American Museum of Natural History and is available as an entertaining talk with live drumming demonstrations of sonification and 3D graphics.