Feb 12, 2011

The Music of DNA

Composers and scientists have joined forces to create a truly unique piece of art. Each of the 40 singers has their own sheet music, written for them based on their individual DNA. The end result is, well, very musical. One would think that it had its origins in Gregorian Chant instead of modern science.The marriage of science and music is not new. A formal study of 20th century music clearly shows this. Musicians have used the Fibonacci sequence, 12-tone music, serialism, and electronic music to create unique compositions. Some have resulted in beautiful music, and some have only been scientific curiosities at best.
How does this relate to teaching music to children? Creating an awareness of the techniques musicians are turning to is wonderful food for the creativity of our students. Somebody asked the question, "I wonder what our DNA would sound like?" A musician (Michael Zev Gordon) who knew enough about DNA asked the question, "How can I turn DNA patterns into music?" Finally, scientists and musicians worked together to make the project happen. Introduce this article to your students, and ask them questions like
  • What scientific or mathematical patterns that I'm learning in school could be used to create music?
  • How could the project become a team effort?
  • Would the music be beautiful?
  • Would the music require instruments, or could musicians use their bodies?
  • Would the music be simple enough to teach my peers?
As science progresses, so will the techniques available to musicians to create unique and beautiful music. Sometimes we just have to think outside of the box. Click for more info

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