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Space Music

European Research Network GÉANT Turns Spacecraft Data Into Music 33

New submitter samshead writes in with a bit of interesting news from GÉANT (the European research network): "GÉANT ... recently demonstrated its power by sonifying 36 years’ worth of NASA Voyager spacecraft data and converting it into a musical duet. ... To compose the spacecraft duet, 320,000 measurements were first selected from each spacecraft, at one hour intervals. Then that data was converted into two very long melodies, each comprising 320,000 notes using different sampling frequencies ... The result of the conversion into waveform, using such a big dataset, created a wide collection of audible sounds, lasting just a few seconds (slightly more than 7 seconds at 44.1kHz) to a few hours (more than 5hours using 1024Hz as a sampling frequency). A certain number of data points, from a few thousand to 44,100 were each 'converted' into 1 second of sound." Listen to the song (it plays using HTML5 audio if you pretend to be an iPhone, otherwise it requires Flash).
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European Research Network GÉANT Turns Spacecraft Data Into Music

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  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:05PM (#46037363) Homepage Journal
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wait till you hear it played backwards! It's the Devil's music!!

  • No orchestra would ever play this.

    When I close my eyes while listening to classical music, I see the story that the music tells. This tells me nothing.

    All the notes are the same length.

    I want my 4 minutes and 55 seconds back.

    • I had a completely different experience. First, I think there would be many orchestras that would consider playing this score for it represents something new, fresh yet still melodic. A lot different then some of the "modern" classical written today.

      As Iistened I did hear a story. This is about two ships, doing the same thing yet different. Separated by millions of miles the travel at the same rate, but yet sned moments of difference. It is a story about movement, progress, almost a happy feeling of pu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I want my 4 minutes and 55 seconds back.

      Next time launch it in another tab and go back to reading slashdot, that way you won't be wasting any of your precious time []...

  • Predictions (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:08PM (#46037403)

    Five things will happen because of this:

    1. Someone will publish it to Youtube and it will promptly be blocked because of some automated cease and desist that algorithmically determined that there was a set of two notes that, if piped through a cat being boiled, then fed through a synthesizer and finally broadcast over shortwave halfway around the world, might vaguely resemble their copyrighted work. If you were drunk.

    2. Someone will (correctly) observe that it has more artistic value than the last couple of One Direction albums.

    3. Someone will comment on how it's an epic waste of tax dollars, and demand to know what possible value the entire field of science and technology has. They will do this using a computer, sitting in a temperature controlled building, connected to a power grid, which has CNN streaming on TV in the background through a satellite. They will not see the irony.

    • OK, so what have science and technology ever done for us? :-)

  • In effect they used the Voyager data as a random number generator, whose output they then turned into 'music'?

  • They sampled some data, re-arranged it, assigned different bits to different 'instruments', and fiddled with it until it until it sounded like a symphony. So what? The first, oh, ten thousand times or so somebody did this I suppose it was news... but the tech is old hat. Old enough that garage musicians have been doing it with off-the-shelf equipment for at least a decade.

    • maybe, but this is Voyager man, no one did that before and yeah, it's pretty cool.

      • Same answer - so what? The data is so heavily manipulated to produce a pre-determined result that it doesn't really matter where it's from.

        • What ever happened to whimsy, what ever happened to imagination. You live a life in dull grays. Enjoy, but I still enjoy creativity for the joy of it and thank goodness others do as well.

  • Douglas Adams would have enjoyed this. See: Richard MacDuff []

  • You need Flash to listen to a song?

    WTF has happened to KISS? Can web designers get any more pathetic?

    • you dont need flash, you just need HTML5

    • You need Flash to listen to a song?

      WTF has happened to KISS? Can web designers get any more pathetic?

      Flash is the fallback for browsers too lame to support HTML5 audio, probably because HTML5 audio doesn't support DRM. Yet anyway.

  • this is scales backstage at the Maxbass, ND Philharmonic.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Possibly the earliest example of this method was Earths Magnetic Field by Charles Dodge in 1970. There's a copy of it on YouTube.

    Using a language such as CSound plenty of people take the data from one system and use it as the rules for music.

  • Now Earth is going to get take down notices from the Recording Industry Association of the Galaxy.

    And those guys play hardball, they'll just take down the entire site (Earth).

  • We usually go with data visualization but data sonification can be interesting as well. log4jfugue is an open source project designed to turn any application's log4j output into a pentatonic music stream.
  • Listen to the song (it plays using HTML5 audio if you pretend to be an iPhone, otherwise it requires Flash).

    Those sound like the words on someone who tried it on exactly two devices.

    It played without Flash for me in Firefox.

  • I wonder what their musical mapping methodology was in approaching this? The problem with sonifying any dataset is that it's easy to pump out random-walk notes mapped to a scale, which is what this sounds like. I don't really notice any rhythmic mappings which would help make this alot more interesting.

    It's not the size of the dataset, it's how you use it.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor