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Scambi fushi tarazu: A Musical Representation of a Drosophila Gene Expression Pattern

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/01/2020
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The term Bio-Art has entered common usage to describe the interaction between the arts and the biological sciences. Although Bio-Art implies that Bio-Music would be one of its obvious sub-disciplines, the latter term has been much less frequently used. Nevertheless, there has been no shortage of projects that have brought together music and the biological sciences. Most of these projects have allowed the biological data to dictate to a large extent the sound produced, for instance the translation of genome or protein sequences into musical phrases, and therefore may be regarded as process compositions. Here I describe a Bio-Music process composition that derives its biological input from a visual representation of the expression pattern of the gene fushi tarazu in the Drosophila embryo. An equivalent pattern is constructed from the Scambi portfolio of short electronic music fragments created by Henri Pousseur in the 1950s. This general form of the resulting electronic composition follows that of the fushi tarazu pattern, while satisfying the rules of the Scambi compositional framework devised by Pousseur. The range and flexibility of Scambi make it ideally suited to other Bio-Music projects wherever there is a requirement, or desire, to build larger sonic structures from small units.