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The infrared frequencies of DNA bases: science and art

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2 Author(s)
S. Alexjander ; Sci. and the Arts, Aptos, CA, USA ; D. Deamer

If we could hear the body, delve into its rhythms and frequencies, what might it sound like? Would we recognize patterns pleasing to the ear, consider them beautiful, musical? Is our biology harmonically ordered in any way? And if so, so what? There are many ways to explore such questions, and one direct way is to access the frequencies of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the primary carrier of genetic information for all living organisms. In 1988 the author, a composer, posed these questions to Dr. David Deamer, a cell biologist. One significant constraint with. this project required that, rather than mapping, or assigning arbitrary pitches to hear patterns, the actual vibrational frequencies were to be collected directly from the molecular realm. These frequencies would then be arranged as scales of tones and used as the basis for musical composition. In 1990 the cassette version of Sequencia was recorded, and in 1994 the CD with additional music was produced. Sequencia consists of three performances of original music-Eikos, Sequencia, and Pataphysical Thymine-performed on traditional instruments plus electronic keyboard, based entirely on a tuning system derived from certain frequencies that occur naturally in DNA.

Published in:

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 2 )