Solo for Bovine Rhodopsin
This piece explores the use of a three-dimensional protein structure as a framework for sound synthesis.
Watch the two-channel version below or download the complete eight-channel wav file.
The rest of this page is a brief explanation of the synthetic techniques I used. For a full analysis see this pdf.
A quarter of the equal-tempered halfstep separates the pitch assigned to each amino acid forming a scale of 326 unique frequencies from 93 to 10,303 Hz.
Throughout the piece, different pitches are activated based on the position of the corresponding amino acid in the three-dimensional model. Rhodopsin's unique folded structure creates specific harmonic combinations.
Short pulse-phrases representing the type of amino acid modulate the gain of each pitch.
I formed the piece by moving simple geometric volumes of activation around the three-dimensional space inhabited by the model.
In the score above, groups of three lines with varying thickness show the movement of activation spheres along the backbone of the protein and grey blocks show where activation planes parallel to the y-axis are swept across the volume.
A cube of eight speakers projects the complete sonic material of this piece creating a sonic hologram.
For best results, precisely measure the distance between speakers and use as large a volume as possible. The mapping of channels in the wav file is as follows:
- left, front, top
- left, front, bottom
- left, rear, top
- left, rear, bottom
- right, front, top
- right, front, bottom
- right, rear, top
- right, rear, bottom