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What is the sound of the Earth? First steps into EMusicNormal access

Authors: Antonio Menghini and Stefano Pontani
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 34, No 4, April 2016 pp. 41 - 46
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.23Mb )
Price: € 30

We show the possibility of transforming Airborne EM (AEM) data into music, by means of the simple procedure of data normalization and the application of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) routine. For this introductory work, named ‘EMusic’, we exploit the ability of the MIDI protocol to translate numerical values (voltage response) into musical pitches. It is possible to use the large amount of data collected by airborne systems, in order to make easier the comprehension of EM method (for a didactic purpose), to assess quickly the quality of data (for a technical purpose) and, last, but not least, to compose musical pieces (creative purpose). Through preliminary and short samples, we show that it is really possible to achieve a ‘sound’ of a particular geological setting, characterized by a specific musical signature, which could support the data interpretation. It is possible to expand greatly this procedure, also considering other geophysical methods. We point out future steps that could be taken. The idea of transforming scientific data into music (sonification) is not new: as reported by Dell’Aversana (2013), many authors dealt with this topic, mainly by processing seismic data (see further references in the quoted paper). The same author presented music samples extracted from earthquake and volcanic activity, processed through the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) protocol. In a second paper, published in 2014, he applied this idea to seismic prospection for detecting gas-filled channels, faults and geological formations, using rhythmic features that reflect the spectral analysis of data. Finally, he suggested that this approach can be applied to any kind of geophysical data and that sonification can complement, not substitute, standard geophysical processing and interpretation routines.

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