Thierry Delatour: Molecular Songs


Sonification - the study of the acoustic conversion of experimental data - covers various fields of application, such as monitoring and comprehension of physical phenomena, audio perception of the environment by visually impaired people, and musical composition. Among the various existing sonification techniques, the acoustic conversion of molecular vibrational spectra is well-suited for the exploration of microscopic structures.
Non-audible oscillations naturally occur in molecules, at rates that are orders of magnitude faster than acoustic vibrations, in a frequency range extending from 30 GHz to 300 THz and can be recorded with spectrometers. Usual analyses of such spectra involve visual examinations, comparison of experimental data with spectral databases or computed spectra. An extended method for the acoustic and musical conversion of vibrational spectral data considers any piece of music as a combination of elementary waveforms. This method leads to molecular sounds, molecular scales and even molecular musical pieces. It translates into an audible signal the same physical phenomenon at different time scales. Its versatility allows the choice of the selected musical parameters and of the time scale descriptions of the corresponding waveforms, in order to obtain the most compelling musical results.