Data-Driven Music from the Coronavirus

A collection of data-driven music from protein structures in SARS CoV-2, using data from the Coronavirus3D project and the Protein Data Bank, with sounds made by the Kyma sound design environment. Amino acids are represented by pitches (lower = hydrophobic, higher = hydrophilic), with different timbres: hydrophobic acids sound more "oily", while the electrically charged hydrophilic acids ring out. (If you're interested, here is more information on the sonification scheme.)

For secondary structure, a triangle chime marks each alpha helix (red curvy lines), while a wooden guiro marks beta sheets (yellow arrows). Turns (shown in green) are represented by modulations, so the music changes to a new key. My hope is that these sounds help provide an understanding of how chains of amino acids are built - not just for the coronavirus, but for any protein. And I've also tried to make them work as music: a collection of short pieces, sort of like an updated Bach cello suite, exploring different tunings and timbres.



Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6w02 (duration 0:43)



Guitar
PDB 6w9c (1:05)



Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 5r82 (1:12)



Vowels
PDB 6w4b (0:29)



Balinese gamelan
PDB 6w4h (0:57)



Replicating SARS-CoV-2 polymerase
Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6yyt (2:35)



Guitar
PDB 6w01 (1:19)



Spike protein (closed)
Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6vxx (4:07)



Spike protein
Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6vsb (3:47)



Guitar
PDB 6lxt (0:32)



Balinese gamelan
PDB 6xdc (0:53)



Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6lzg (0:44)



Vowels
PDB 6lvn (0:14)



Guitar
PDB 6vyo (0:27)



Violin, glass, & plucked piano
PDB 6m3m (0:44)



Vowels
PDB 6z4u (0:23)



Balinese gamelan
PDB 6w37 (0:17)



Guitar
PDB 6wji (0:31)

Thanks for help and inspiration to musicians Carla Scaletti, Kurt Hebel, Allen Wu, Franz Danksagm├╝ller, Stephen Busath, and Olivia Taylor; and scientists Martin Gruebele, Taras Pogorelov, and Meredith Rickard.