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Photo of Bain & Dudycha
Photo of Reginald Bain & Jeff Dudycha: UofSC Publications

Welcome

Welcome to the Mutational Music Project website. The project is focused on the development of pedagogical software that will help students understand mutational concepts through experimentation with music. To initially explore the possibilities, Dudycha and Bain created an interdisciplinary research experience at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) that involves undergraduate biologists working in teams with electronic composers and using established approaches in the field of data sonification to design a project that addresses the following problem: In what way(s) can basic processes of genetics and evolutionary biology (especially mutation) be effectively represented through musical processes? To date, this ongoing work has been shared through the series of talks, concerts, presentations, and papers below.

Contact Information

Reginald Bain, Professor
Composition and Theory
School of Music
University of South Carolina
E-mail: rbain@mozart.sc.edu
Website: reginaldbain.com
Jeff Dudycha, Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Carolina
E-mail: dudycha@biol.sc.edu
Website: tangledbank.org


PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Spring 2022 Course
The Mutational Music Project interdisciplinary research experience will be offered again next term. Interested biologists should contact Dr. Jeff Dudycha. Interested composers should contact Dr. Reginald Bain.

ICAD 2021
The third movement of Bain's computer-generated composition Double Helix (2019), titled "Seed," was performed at the 2021 International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD 2021) Sonification Concert on Saturday, June 26, 2021. Bain's ICAD 2021 paper is available in the conference proceedings. A recording is available on YouTube.

Evolution 2021
Dudycha and Bain gave a joint talk at the national Evolution 2021 conference titled Chords and Codons: Musical simulations of evolutionary processes in an interdisciplinary undergraduate course. This paper discusses the scientific scide of the interdisciplinary research experience.

Evolution 2021 talk title slide
ATMI 2020
To learn more about the musical side of the interdisciplinary research experience, see the revised online handout for Bain's paper presentation at the 2020 Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI 2020) national conference titled Integrating Music and Genetics through Sonification and Data-Driven Music Composition.

Spring 2020 Course

During the Spring 2020 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and USC biology professor Jeff Dudycha's BIOL 599 Topics in Biology: Chords & Codons classes teamed up in a unique beyond-the-classroom experience that focuses on interdisciplinary research/creative activity that lies at the intersection of genetics and music composition. Ten undergraduate biologists (Abby Askins, Kate Bote, Jacob Brock, Libby Davenport, Jack Gabel, Patrick Lawson, Dexter Reasons, Michelle St. John, Rishi Suresh, Frank Webb) and six undergraduate/graduate composers (Elizabeth Greener, Andrew Gretzinger, Jesse Kaiser, Te-Wei Huang, Ian Jones, Bryce Owens, Graeme Rosner, Peter Underhill, Hunter Vowell, Jacob Wylie) created five mutational music projects.

UofSC Today Article

"The sound of genetics: Music, biology professors team up for inventive class to turn gene mutations into sound"
by Page Ivey, in UofSC Today (October 11, 2019)

Mutational Music Concert

Monday, April 8, 2019
School of Music, Recital Hall, 7:30 pm, FREE

The 2019 USC Computer Music Concert was presented in lecture-recital format. xMUSE director Reginald Bain gave a lecture titled the Mutational Music Project, which discussed music, genetics, sonification, and was immediately followed by the world premiere of Bain’s new sonification-inspired composition Double Helix.

Program | Flyer


Student Research Projects
(2018-19)

Joelle Strom (SCHC, Biology), Sonification of Epigenetic Processes, SCHC Senior Thesis

Matthew Waller (SCHC, Biology), Waltz Towards Disaster: A Representation of The Accumulation of Mutations
Over Time
, Discover UofSC Presentation

A New Interdisciplinary Course (Spring 2018)

During the Spring 2018 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and USC biology professor Jeff Dudycha's BIOL 599 Topics in Biology classes teamed up in a unique beyond-the-classroom experience that focuses on interdisciplinary research/creative activity that lies at the intersection of genetics and music composition. Eight undergraduate biologists (Lexi Dickson, Olivia Harris, Lauren Huffmire, Rachel May, Kathryn Metts, Zach Spicer, Joelle Strom and Matthew Waller) and six undergraduate/graduate composers (Thomas Palmer, Morgan Soard, Robert Wilkinson, Ryan Williams, Jacob Wylie, and Michael VanBuhler) created four mutational music projects.

DaCapo Article

"Music enhances learning in STEM education"
by Ellen Woodoff, in Da Capo (2015-16)

Mutational Music Talks

As part of the project, Bain has given the following talks at the University of South Carolina:

  1. October 21, 2016
    Generative Music
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  2. September 15, 2017
    Music, Biology and Sonification
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  3. September 21, 2018
    Data-Driven Music
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  4. February 1, 2019
    Generative Rhythm
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  5. March 29, 2019
    Science, Music and Metaphor
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  6. September 6, 2019
    Sonification and the Auditory Sublime
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  7. February 7, 2020
    Microtonal Spaces for Sonification: Part 1: The Harmonic Series
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

  8. October 23, 2020
    Microtonal Spaces for Sonification: Part 2: EDO, JI, and Beyond
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Virtual

  9. January 22, 2021
    Composition and Sonification
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Virtual

  10. October 29, 2021
    "Seed," from Double Helix
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210
Acknowledgements
University of South Carolina
Tayloe Harding, Dean, School of Music
Johannes Stratmann, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences

The Mutational Music Project is the broader impact component of the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant project Mutational variance of the transcriptome and the origins of phenotypic plasticity (NSF award #1556645). Dr. Jeff Dudycha is the principle investigator and Dr. Reginald Bain is the other senior person on the grant.
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Updated: October 31, 2021