Yandex.Music has produced a playlist, Музыка звёзд, which translates as “music of the stars”.
Each track reflects the unique characteristics of its celestial body. For example, the track “Sun” used data on the periodicity of solar flares over the past 60 years – from which a melody was obtained. The track “Eclipsing”, dedicated to the binary star system of Beta Lyra, is written in the size of a waltz: in the system, the stars revolve around each other, and in the track one melody replaces another. In the track “Galaxy”, the hero of which was the galaxy NGC 2442 in the constellation Flying Fish, the effect of a spectral synthesizer was used, which received a photo of the galaxy as input and generated sounds for the composition on its basis.
The Music of Stars playlist was created by Yandex.Music team with the participation of astrophysicists. The project used data from the Radioastron project of the FIAN Astro Center, the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), Roscosmos, and NASA.
The journey begins from the Sun and ends at a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy M87, 53.5 million light-years from Earth. On the way, you can hear how different celestial bodies “sound”: stars, pulsars and whole galaxies, learn more about them from the comments of scientists and even imagine how they look – video shots, small looped videos were made for each track. The peculiarity of the playlist is that the stars and galaxies themselves became co-authors of the music: each track is composed based on their unique parameters, which were converted into music using algorithms.
Methods of sonification helped to turn data into melodies for Yandex.Music. From the brightness, motion, and other characteristics of celestial bodies, they singled out frequency and amplitude – what can be used as parameters of sound. Each parameter is expressed numerically and using a table, these numbers were compared with certain notes. Then they picked up harmonic movement, instruments and effects – and as a result, 10 completed tracks were produced.
You can listen to samples without subscribing here.