After a long break I have made a new ambient electronic track which you can hear on my Soundcloud page.

After I went to some of the events at the University of St Andrews connected to the International Year of Light, I had the idea of representing the emission spectra in a musical way. None of the artists or composers I saw were talking about sound spectra, but of course that is the way I am working with the virtual ANS synthesiser.

My new track is very abstract, “not very exciting to listen to” according to the first person to hear it, but that is part of the point. The emission spectra of elements don’t do anything, they just eternally shine their distinctive colours out ito the void.

And so my composition shines its sounds out into the void of our ears, unchanging, eternal…

To make this track I worked on the computer, first acquiring numbers for the wavelengths and frequencies of the Hydrogen emission lines. I took the first 5 Balmer series lines, which are visible, and I used Isaac Newton’s model for mapping the visible colours of light onto the audible frequencies of music. Since we can hear a much wider range of sound frequencies than we can see of light frequencies, I considered adding more of the non-visible lines onto my diagram, but I decided in the end to stick with the 5 visible lines.

I plotted the five lines onto an image and added an impressionistic bass movement which is meant to evoke the very long-wavelength (low frequency) “Hydrogen line” which is in the radio wave region of the spectrum (about 30 octaves below the lowest visible line)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *