Hear the Coronavirus as Music

Posted on 7th April, 2020

Hear the Coronavirus as Music

Markus J. Buehler, a McAfee Professor of Engineering at MIT and a composer of experimental, classical and electronic music, has used a computational algorithm to make the COVID-19's material manifestation audible.

We won't pretend we fully understand the concept, so here's the explanation in Buehler's words:

What you hear is a multi-layered algorithmic composition featuring both the vibrational spectrum of the entire protein (expressed in sound and rhythmic elements), the sequence and folding of amino acids that compose the virus spike structure, as well as interwoven melodies - forming counterpoint music - reflecting the complex hierarchical intersecting geometry of the protein.

For a virus so deadly that is wreaking havoc unlike anything most generations alive today have never experienced, the music piece is surprisingly and eerily beautiful. Buehler continues:

This doesn't really convey the deadly impacts this particularly protein is having on the world. This aspect of the music shows the deceiving nature of the virus, how it hijacks our body to replicate, and hurt us along the way. So, the music is a metaphor for this nature of the virus to deceive the host and exploit it for its own multiplication.

One social media commentator said, “Perfect soundtrack for the extinction of humankind.” A touch dramatic, but if we can now replicate and reproduce the virus in labs and turn it into music, let's hope that discovering a vaccine getting closer to reality.

Source: Soundcloud

Marc Rushton's avatar

Marc Rushton

StereoNET’s Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.

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