International Computer Music Conference 2016 Papers Track

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Molecular Sonification of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data as a Novel Tool for Sound Creation

The term molecular sonification encompasses all proce-dures that turn data derived from chemical systems into sound. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data of the nuclei hydrogen-1 and carbon-13 are particularly well suited data sources for molecular sonification. Even though their resonant frequencies are typically in the MHz region, the range of these resonant frequencies span only a few tens of kHz. During NMR experiments, these signals are routinely mixed down into the audible frequency range, rendering the need for any additional frequency transpositions unnecessary. The structure of the molecule being analysed is directly related to the features present in its NMR spectra. It is therefore possi-ble to select molecules according to their structural fea-tures, in order to create sounds in preferred frequency ranges and with desired frequency content and density. Using the sonification methodology presented in this paper, it was possible to create an acousmatic music composition based exclusively on publicly accessible NMR data. It is argued that NMR sonification, as a sound creation methodology based on scientific data, has the potential to be a potent tool to effectively con-textualize extra-musical ideas such as Alzheimer's dis-ease or global warming in future works of art and music.


Falk Morawitz    
NOVARS Research Centre, department of Music
University of Manchester
United Kingdom


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