Trappist sonification

In 1999, astronomers discovered a star they called, quite unimaginatively, 2MASS J23062928-0502285 (These numbers refer to the right ascension and declination of the star’s position in the sky and the “J” refers to the Julian Epoch.). The star was later studied again and in 2015, a team found 3 planets orbiting around the star, followed by the discovery of another 4. The astronomers, led by the Belgian Michaël Gillon, used the TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope for the initial discovery and subsequently named the solar system Trappist-1 (the Trappist also refers to the famous Belgian beers). Through careful observation of the star, they were able to detect the transits of the planets. Every time a planet passes in front of the star, it blocks a bit of the light, which is enough to detect the planet. With 500 hours of observation, the team was able to calculate the trajectories of the planets and create a simulation of the system. Continue reading “Trappist sonification”

Artefact#0, Digital Necrophony

Artefact#0, Digital Necrophony is an installation by Mathilde Lavenne that wants to be a meditation on the afterlife. Using a light sensor, the colour intensities on a black and white marble column are read and fed into the sound engine. Using marble, Laverne wants to convey a sense of solemnness. Continue reading “Artefact#0, Digital Necrophony”

Stadsmuziek/ Citymusic: a sonification of buildings by Akko Goldenbeld

Citymusic is an installation by Dutch artist and designer Akko Goldenbeld. It sonifies the heights of buildings in Eindhoven and Amsterdam using a piano and a city map on a roll that plays the piano keys, a bit like a pianola. Akko was kind enough to answer a few questions to explain how the installation works.

Continue reading “Stadsmuziek/ Citymusic: a sonification of buildings by Akko Goldenbeld”

N.A.G. (Network Auralization for Gnutella)

N.A.G. was an application that used data from the Gnutella peer-to-peer network. The user would enter search words and the application would start looking for mp3 files matching those keywords. Due to the nature of Gnutella, a mp3 file is downloaded in fragments. These fragments form the core of the musical result: Instead of mapping data, the sound files themselves are transformed based on various parameters that can be set interactively by the user. The downloaded fragments are played back at a speed depending on the available bandwidth. Continue reading “N.A.G. (Network Auralization for Gnutella)”

Solar Wind Sonification

In 2010, a team from the University of Michigan used solar wind data from 2003, obtained using NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer Satellite. Composer Robert Alexander mapped Helium velocity data to a frequency between 20Hz and 6kHz. The resulting frequency was used to control the cutoff frequency of a bandpass filter filtering pink noise and a bandwidth that was held at a constant of 1. The result is a sweeping wind sound. The density of the Helium controls the loudness of the sound. At some points in time, a Coronal Mass Ejection⁠1 occurs. When this happens, the sound is sent through an overdrive effect. Continue reading “Solar Wind Sonification”

Rock Music: Granular and Stochastic Synthesis based on the Matanuska Glacier

Moving from social media to environmental data, today I discuss Mara Helmuth’s Rock Music, a sonification of the melting of an Alaskan glacier.

Mara Helmuth uses data from sediment granulation in a lake formed by the melting of the Matanuska glacier in Alaska during a 24-hour period. Time, grain size and grain frequency were measured and mapped onto parameters for waveform, additive, granular and physical modelling synthesis. Continue reading “Rock Music: Granular and Stochastic Synthesis based on the Matanuska Glacier”