(Roughly) Daily

I sing the body electric…

Gil Alterovitz, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, is developing a computer program that translates protein and gene expression into music. In his acoustic translation, harmony represents good health, and discord indicates disease.

Using colon cancer as a subject, Alterovitz translated genes (circles) into music by charting the relationship (lines) between them and determining key networks (red nodes). Each network is assigned a musical note.

Hear his “compositions” here; read the Technology Review article here.

As we hum along, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that Bob Dylan invited some plugged-in friends on stage at the Newport Folk Festival and scandalized the audience by playing an electrified set.

Dylan at Newport

It was disturbing to the Old Guard … Bob is no longer a Neo-Woody Guthrie … The highway he travels now is unfamiliar to those who bummed around … during the Depression. He travels by plane … the mountains and valleys he knows are those of the mind—a mind extremely aware of the violence of the inner and outer world. ‘The people’ so loved by  Pete Seeger are ‘the mob’ so hated by Dylan … They seemed to understand that night for the first time what Dylan has been trying to say for over a year – that he is not theirs or anyone else’s and they didn’t like what they heard and booed … Can there be no songs as violent as the age? Must a folk song be of mountains, valleys, and love between my brother and my sister all over this land? Do we allow for despair only in the blues?… The only one in the entire festival who questioned our position was Bob Dylan. Maybe he didn’t put it in the best way. Maybe he was rude. But he shook us. And that is why we have poets and artists.
– Jim Rooney , Sing Out, 1965

Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 25, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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