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

Welcome

Welcome to the Mutational Music Project website.

The Mutational Music Project is focused on the development of music and software that helps students understand genetic mutation concepts. To explore the possibilities, University of South Carolina (UofSC) professors Jeff Dudycha and Reginald Bain created an interdisciplinary undergraduate research experience that involves biologists working in teams with electronic composers. The teams use established approaches in data sonification to design projects that address the following problem: In what way(s) can basic processes of genetics and evolutionary biology (especially mutation) be effectively represented through musical processes? This ongoing work has been shared through the courses, musical compositions, concerts, paper presentations, and talks listed below.

Questions about this site should be directed to Reginald Bain at <rbain@mozart.sc.edu>.


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 NEWS & ACTIVITIES

Genetic Variations (2022)

Composed for the Mutational Music Project, Bain's Genetic Variations (2022) received its world premiere at the:

UofSC Computer Music Concert
Sunday, April 24, 2022
University of South Carolina
School of Music 7:30 pm
Recital Hall, FREE
Concert Program | Flyer


Spring 2022 Course
During the Spring 2022 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and UofSC 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 algorithmic composition. Eight undergraduate biologists and eight undergraduate/graduate composers created the following four projects:

Group Project Title
Biologists Composers
1 Sonification of Bird Migratory Patterns with
Progressing Climate Change
Priyam Bhardwaj
Vin Sullivan
Evan Farr
Jacob Zirbel
2 Sonification of MAO gene VNTRs Scott McManus
Anna Thamasett
Rachelle Armstead
Aidan McCarty
3 Sonification of Invasive Sea Lamprey and Lake Trout Abundance in Lake Superior David Abdulrahman
Oliver Malatich
Schupeng Cao
Ashley Stewart
4 The Sounds of Alzheimer's Disease
Ashutosh Arora
Brandon Jolley
Max Feltes
Garrett Lee Fuller

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. Bain's ICAD 2021 paper is available in the conference proceedings. A recording of the movement is available on YouTube.

Evolution 2021
Dudycha and Bain gave a joint talk at the Evolution 2021 conference. The Evolution conference is the joint annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the Society of Systematic Biologists. The presentation, titled Chords and Codons: Musical simulations of evolutionary processes in an interdisciplinary undergraduate course, discussed the scientific side of the interdisciplinary research experience.

Evolution 2021 paper presentation title slide

ATMI 2020
Bain gave a 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. The presentation discussed the musical side of the interdisciplinary research experience. The revised online handout for the presentation is available on Bain's website.

ATMI 2020 paper presentation title slide

Spring 2020 Course
During the Spring 2020 term, students in Reginald Bain's Mof 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and UofSC 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 algorithmic composition. Ten undergraduate biologists and six undergraduate/graduate composers created the following five mutational music projects:

Group Project Title
Biologists Composers
1 The Harmonic Balance of Eat or Be Eaten Libby Davenport
Patrick Lawson
Ian Jones
Jacob Wylie
2 Algorithmically-derived jazz from amino acid data Kate Bothe
Michelle St. John
Bryce Owens
Graeme Rosner
3 Mutations Sonified in a Fugue
Jacob Brock
Dexter Reasons
Elizabeth Greener
Hunter Vowell
4 SoniPhylogenies: Cytochrome B Sonification using BLOSUM
Rishi Suresh
Frank Webb
Andrew Gretzinger
Peter Underhill
4 What Does Parkinson's Sound Like?
Abby Askins
Jack Gabel
Te-Wei Huang
Jesse Kaiser

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)


Double Helix (2019)

Composed for the Mutational Music Project, Bain's electronic composition Double Helix (2019) received its world premiere at the:

USC Computer Music Concert
Monday, April 8, 2019
University of South Carolina
School of Music
Recital Hall, 7:30 pm
Concert Program | Flyer

The 2019 USC Computer Music Concert was presented in lecture-recital format. Bain gave a lecture titled the Mutational Music Project, a talk for the general public on music, genetics, and sonification that was designed to increase public understanding of genetics and genetic processes through analogous musical processes. The lecture was immediately followed by the world premiere of Bain’s sonification-inspired electronic composition Double Helix.

Mutational Music Project presentation title slide

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 Musicand UofSC 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 algorithmic composition. Eight undergraduate biologists and six undergraduate/graduate composers created the following four mutational music projects:

Group Project Title/Description
Biologists Composers
1 A genetic sequence is directly mapped to a
chord progression while implementing the properties of various mutations
Lauren Huffmire
Kathryn Metts
Thomas Palmer
Morgan Sord
2 Waltz Toward Disaster: A Representation of
the Accumulation of Mutations Over Time
Zach Spicer
Matthew Waller
Rachel May
Joel Strom
3 A familiar melody is altered according to the
rules of genetic mutation
Rachel May
Joel Strom
Michael VanBuhler
Robert Wilkinson
4 Hearing the Silent: Musically
Expressing Intronic Mutations
Lexi Dickson
Olivia Harris
Jacob Wylie

DaCapo Article

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


MUTATIONAL MUSIC TALKS


To provide regular reports on the ongoing research and creative activity involved in the musical end of the project, Bain has delivered the following public 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
  1. February 25, 2022
    Musical Analogies for Genetic Mutation
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



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.
NSP logo
The investigators wish to acknowledge the generous support of the University of South Carolina; Tayloe Harding, Dean of the School of Music; and Johannes Stratmann, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.


Updated: April 29, 2022