Scot Gresham-Lancaster – Sonification musician, composer (https://scot.greshamlancaster.com/) worked with Chris Tremblay (https://hutchinsoncenter.umaine.edu/people/chris-tremblay/) a cetacean bioacoustic scientist to create a soundscape for the SeaChange exhibit.
Here is a description of Scot’s process in composing the data-driven piece:
Chris Tremblay provided Scot with sound files from throughout the year of the “songs” and other natural sounds of ocean life under the waves in the Gulf of Maine. Resonance filters can be tuned like strings that can use note information to be changed over time in a chord progression. The frequency content of the bioacoustic recordings excite the chord voicings of the resonant filters, not unlike singing into a piano without striking the keys but with the sustain pedal down. Try that next time you are near a piano and you will understand the acoustic phenomenon.
The chord changes are in the same key as the string quartet – Halcyon String Quartet’s version of Max Richter’s ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ (www.halcyonstringquartet.org), and Scot’s original compositions that play periodically in the space.
The whale and other animal ‘songs’ are played through the filter in sequence based on the annual migration of each species as designated in this NOA chart:
See the outlined “Gulf of Maine” section in blue above .
If each day is 4 seconds, 365 days is 24 minutes 20 seconds. So the entire cycle of a year will loop at that rate. Using the chart below the migratory patterns of the various species as they travel through the Gulf at various times of the year, will be panned (mixed between the 8 speakers surrounding the exhibit to match these patterns.
The string quartet performance is interspersed with the more distributed migratory audio representation described above, which is a mix of the slow chord changes of the resonant chords mixed with the actual “dry” bioacoustics themselves.