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Music From Light



Extracting music from lightThe real music of the spheres

From its beginnings, spectroscopy was an exciting technique. Newton, in 1672 with his first research on prisms and the decomposition of sunlight, already showed that the white light from our star was composed of a mixture of all the colours of the rainbow. And later, the advances of Fraunhofer in 1815 developing more precise spectroscopes, already allowed revealing the true chemical identity of the Sun and, finally, that of practically any object from which we can capture its light. Thus, indirectly, spectroscopy can define the chemical composition of an astronomical object with great precision. Spectroscopy is, since then, a formidable instrument for the knowledge of the Universe.

“Music from Light” brings a new vision to spectroscopy, presenting new methods for the integration of spectroscopy with art. We have learned how to transform light into music. Now, we can compose the authentic music of the spheres thanks to a simple spectroscope, a diffraction grating with which we can decompose the light of any star captured in our observatory. We will present our own version of the sound of light coming from the bodies of the solar system, including the Earth, and from far beyond… How does the sky sound? Uniting science with art, our compositions are not based on music inspired by the stars, but on music extracted directly from the stars, planets, comets, eclipses…

Chasing spectra

For anyone with a scientific vocation (science is an attitude to life), current astronomy is a special motivation. Changing theoretical reading to real action is always an exciting opportunity that we should not let pass, and thanks to spectroscopy we can take action and turn our observations into true science.

This project started in 2015 and the truth is that, as such, it will never have a definite end, since we can get spectra and music from any celestial body at any time, such as when bright new comets visit us. The main objective of the work is to chemically characterize the observed stars and transform that information into an audible experience. On a personal level, the thrill of seeing the famous “Fraunhofer’s bands” directly with your own eyes is absolutely unforgettable. It is this emotion that drives us to share this experience in a cross-cutting project, merging art and science.

Sonifying the Cosmos

The art of sonification is the act of converting into sound any idea or physical object that can be represented numerically. For example, the pixels of a digitized image, the measurements of an electrocardiogram, the statistical data of a sample, the temperatures of climate change over the years, the demographic values of a population, real-time Internet searches, would be some of the many possibilities to choose. Thus, “Music from Light” is the result of transforming spectroscopy data obtained from different celestial bodies into sound.

In recent years, in an effort to reunify science with the most social disciplines, it is common for official organisations to publish results with the sound of the stars and other astronomical bodies. Even the sound captured by professional observatories is made available to artists to compose their themes. Our case is different. We have autonomously carried out the entire procedures of spectra capture, processing, and analysis thereof, as well as the elaboration of new and more precise computer algorithms that allow, for the first time, a more precise and comprehensive transformation of an energy manifestation of a visible wavelength, to one with an audible wavelength.

The result is a piece of music truly extracted from the light, with very little human intervention, which is perhaps disturbing, but evocative and suggestive at the same time. It is the authentic music of the spheres, the result of a new transversal vision where art is flooded with science.

We are pleased to present a journey into another reality of the Cosmos – perhaps we only softly touch it – through the sense of hearing, built on the foundations of the science of spectroscopy and astronomy, as well as the use of modern technological tools: telescopes, computers, and synthesizers.




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