Music from outer space


Session Title:

  • Sensory Body (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Music from outer space



  • Many artists throughout history have sought inspiration from contemplating celestial phenomena. These motivations were not restricted to art nor were sufficient to prevent many questions and hypotheses were formulated about the influence of what is now known as outer space in music. Is the universe musical? Can you hear sounds from outer space? Can we turn them into some kind of understandable music by known parameters of musical structure? Are we on the threshold of a new understanding of the “harmony of the spheres”? As the twentieth century began to gain these questions answers with more defined contours as well, thanks to the advent of electroacoustic music and electronic music, the composers who have awakened to start the research from non‑musical sound sources, transforming vibrations with computational resources to produce music. The experimental trend that sought to aggregate diverse sounds of nature, termed as Concrete Music, also contributed to the development of ideas that culminated in the assumptions for music from outer space. Furthermore, significant changes in perception and musical language enabled a new approach to sound like something decomposable. In this way then, some researchers are responding to questions about the ‘space music’ in an affirmative and enthusiastic way: yes , outer space can be a source for music composition. That is because, in recent decades, high‑tech equipment, coupled in space or positioned on the globe, such as telescopic antennae radio, ‘recorders’ connected to computers in research centers, among others, have become a kind of “ear vessels cosmic”, capturing vibrations coming from stars, planets, and even galaxies . All this material, collected from electromagnetic waves (gamma rays and X‑rays, basically) and received on numerical codes have been scientifically and artistically systematized and analyzed, acquiring a new meaning through specific music software , which converts data of all types in synthesized musical sounds in a process called sonification. Thus, it is possible to customize the information using tone, volume, pace and even different types of instruments to distinguish between different values and intensities from the electromagnetic spectrum detected by the technological apparatus.