Music in the Stars – Information Overload – Anne Katherine

Do you ever feel like you’re being dragged under a tidal wave of information with no control over where you’re headed and no sign of air or land?

Me neither.

However, over the past few weeks I have come to discover the joys and the difficulty of lots of help coming my way.

Both Data Set 1 and Data Set 2 were sent to me in formats that would sound like a scale when played. This is because they were ordered numerically by either wavelength and frequency respectively. A low value of wavelength or frequency will produce a low note and a high value, a high note.  Here is a video that provides a great visualization and explanation for this phenomena. After running into the problem of both data sets sounding like scales when played, I asked Gabriele, KG, and Bill for help in coming up with a solution to this predicament. They all had fantastic, and very different ideas for me, all of which I am still in the process of analyzing to determine the best next step.

The other piece of the project I currently have my eyes on is the question of the best software to use to take thousands of data items and turn them into sound on a mass scale. To address this I reached out to the owner of online tone generator, Edward Ball in hopes that he might have an idea for me. Edward got back to me in a matter of hours and was eager to help me (yay!). He did some fancy programming for me about which I am meeting with mentor #5, Teacher Tom Gilbert today. T. Tom has been so awesome to take time to help me with my project and has some of his own ideas about how to solve my software conundrum.

The newest addition to my wonderful group of supporters is a researcher by the name of Dr. Alex H. Parker. A few weeks ago Bill sent me a link to a blog about Alex’s work. Over the past few years Alex has worked to create music based on input from supernovas, sound familiar? The most exciting part is that he pulled it off! His composition is now available on iTunes. I emailed my congratulations, explained the connection between our projects, and inquired as to his software use. He emailed back with lots of encouragement about my project and inquiries about my fluency in code.

Speaking of code…


My valiant attempt to color code all of the inputs I’m getting

I’m about to try out the software that Edward sent me, wish me luck!

1 thought on “Music in the Stars – Information Overload – Anne Katherine

  1. margaretjhaviland

    Anne Katherine you are in the middle of research. You are experiencing what we all feel when the data starts to come in and we need to find the tools and mentors to help us make sense of it. Collaboration and individual persistence in the middle of the overload is an exciting place to be.


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