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Photo of Bain & Dudycha
Photo of Reginald Bain & Jeff Dudycha (UofSC Publications)

Welcome

Welcome to the Mutational Music Project website.

The Mutational Music Project is focused on the development of pedagogical software that helps students understand mutational concepts through experimentation with music. To explore the possibilities, University of South Carolina (UofSC) professors Jeff Dudycha and Reginald Bain created an interdisciplinary undergraduate research experience that involves biologists working in teams with electronic composers. The teams use established approaches in data sonification to design projects that address the following problem: In what way(s) can basic processes of genetics and evolutionary biology (especially mutation) be effectively represented through musical processes? This ongoing work has been shared through the paper presentations, concerts, and talks listed below.

Questions about this site should be directed to Reginald Bain at <rbain@mozart.sc.edu>.


Contact Information

Reginald Bain, Professor
Composition and Theory
School of Music
University of South Carolina
E-mail: rbain@mozart.sc.edu
Website: reginaldbain.com
Jeff Dudycha, Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Carolina
E-mail: dudycha@biol.sc.edu
Website: tangledbank.org



PROJECT NEWS & ACTIVITIES


Spring 2022 Course
During the Spring 2022 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and UofSC biology professor Jeff Dudycha's BIOL 599 Topics in Biology: Chords & Codons classes will team up in a unique beyond-the-classroom experience that focuses on interdisciplinary research/creative activity that lies at the intersection of genetics and algorithmic composition. Eight undergraduate biologists (David Abdulrahman, Ashutosh Arora, Priyam Bhardwaj, Oliver Malatich, Scott McManus, Brandon Jolley, Vin Sullivan, and Anna Thamasett) and eight undergraduate/graduate composers (Rachelle Armstead, Shupeng Cao, Evan Farr, Max Feltes, Garrett Fuller, Aiden McCartey, Ashley Stewart, and Jacob Zirbel will create four mutational music projects.

ICAD 2021
The third movement of Bain's computer-generated composition Double Helix (2019), titled "Seed," was performed at the 2021 International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD 2021) Sonification Concert. Bain's ICAD 2021 paper is available in the conference proceedings. A recording of the movement is available on YouTube.

Evolution 2021
Dudycha and Bain gave a joint talk at the Evolution 2021 conference titled Chords and Codons: Musical simulations of evolutionary processes in an interdisciplinary undergraduate course. This paper discusses the scientific side of the interdisciplinary research experience.

Evolution 2021 talk title slide

ATMI 2020
Bain gave a paper presentation at the 2020 Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI 2020) national conference titled Integrating Music and Genetics through Sonification and Data-Driven Music Composition. The presentation discussed the musical side of the interdisciplinary research experience. The revised online handout for the presentation is available on Bain's website.

Spring 2020 Course

During the Spring 2020 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and USC biology professor Jeff Dudycha's BIOL 599 Topics in Biology: Chords & Codons classes teamed up in a unique beyond-the-classroom experience that focuses on interdisciplinary research/creative activity that lies at the intersection of genetics and algorithmic composition. Ten undergraduate biologists (Abby Askins, Kate Bote, Jacob Brock, Libby Davenport, Jack Gabel, Patrick Lawson, Dexter Reasons, Michelle St. John, Rishi Suresh, Frank Webb) and six undergraduate/graduate composers (Elizabeth Greener, Andrew Gretzinger, Jesse Kaiser, Te-Wei Huang, Ian Jones, Bryce Owens, Graeme Rosner, Peter Underhill, Hunter Vowell, Jacob Wylie) created five mutational music projects.

UofSC Today Article

"The sound of genetics: Music, biology professors team up for inventive class to turn gene mutations into sound"
by Page Ivey, in UofSC Today (October 11, 2019)


Concert

Monday, April 8, 2019
School of Music, Recital Hall, 7:30 pm, FREE

The 2019 USC Computer Music Concert was presented in lecture-recital format. Bain gave a lecture titled the Mutational Music Project, a talk for the general public on music, genetics, and sonification that was designed to increase public understanding of genetics and genetic processes through analogous musical processes.

The lecture was immediately followed by the world premiere of Bain’s sonification-inspired electronic composition Double Helix.

See also: Concert Program | Flyer


Student Research Projects (2018-19)

Joelle Strom (SCHC, Biology), Sonification of Epigenetic Processes, SCHC Senior Thesis

Matthew Waller (SCHC, Biology), Waltz Towards Disaster: A Representation of The Accumulation of Mutations
Over Time
, Discover UofSC Presentation

A New Interdisciplinary Course (Spring 2018)

During the Spring 2018 term, students in Reginald Bain's MUSC 540/(737) (Advanced) Projects in Computer Music and USC biology professor Jeff Dudycha's BIOL 599 Topics in Biology classes teamed up in a unique beyond-the-classroom experience that focuses on interdisciplinary research/creative activity that lies at the intersection of genetics and algorithmic composition. Eight undergraduate biologists (Lexi Dickson, Olivia Harris, Lauren Huffmire, Rachel May, Kathryn Metts, Zach Spicer, Joelle Strom and Matthew Waller) and six undergraduate/graduate composers (Thomas Palmer, Morgan Soard, Robert Wilkinson, Ryan Williams, Jacob Wylie, and Michael VanBuhler) created four mutational music projects.

DaCapo Article

"Music enhances learning in STEM education"
by Ellen Woodoff, in Da Capo (2015-16)


MUTATIONAL MUSIC TALKS


To provide regular reports on the ongoing research and creative activity involved in the musical end of the project, Bain has delivered the following public talks at the University of South Carolina. Links to pdf handouts and online examples (where applicable) are available below.:

    1. October 21, 2016
      Generative Music
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    2. September 15, 2017
      Music, Biology and Sonification
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    3. September 21, 2018
      Data-Driven Music
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    4. February 1, 2019
      Generative Rhythm
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    5. March 29, 2019
      Science, Music and Metaphor
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    6. September 6, 2019
      Sonification and the Auditory Sublime
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    7. February 7, 2020
      Microtonal Spaces for Sonification: Part 1: The Harmonic Series
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210

    8. October 23, 2020
      Microtonal Spaces for Sonification: Part 2: EDO, JI, and Beyond
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Virtual

    9. January 22, 2021
      Composition and Sonification
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Virtual

    10. October 29, 2021
      "Seed," from Double Helix
      Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210
  1. February 25, 2022
    Rhythmic Timelines
    Composition Seminar, 2:30 - 4 pm, Music Building, Room 210


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



The Mutational Music Project is the broader impact component of the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant project Mutational variance of the transcriptome and the origins of phenotypic plasticity (NSF award #1556645). Dr. Jeff Dudycha is the principle investigator and Dr. Reginald Bain is the other senior person on the grant.
The investigators wish to acknowledge the generous support of the University of South Carolina; Tayloe Harding, Dean of the School of Music; and Johannes Stratmann, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.


Updated: January 23, 2022