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Gravitational Waves Turned To Music: This Is How Awesome It Sounds

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Some artists refer to the Earth or the Universe as their muse, the beauty that sparked something in them to create works of art. For composers, when you listen to their finished masterpiece, it is like seeing a vignette of the whole Universe itself.

That is exactly what London-based composer Arthur Jeffes accomplished.

Inspired by the confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves, Jeffes translated data from the LIGO program -- which discovered its presence -- and transformed it into what Motherboard calls a "chill spacedub."

For the project, Jeffes collaborated with Samaya Nissanke, a NASA astrophysicist who was part of the team that detected the gravitational waves.

The British composer took the "chirps," the sonic expression of the cosmic phenomenon, and crafted music around it.

Jeffes began planning the music project with Nissanke about 18 months ago. He said he aims to make the results of scientific experiments accessible to people.

"We had this idea where we thought it would be great to work together and model the chirps," said Jeffes, who has been friends with Nissanke for a long time.

As soon as Jeffes got the chirps from the two colliding black holes, he used audio-editing software called Logic to cut, stretch and overlay his own score over the sounds.

According to Jeffes, the waveforms are like exponential curves that reach higher pitch as they peak. He took those curves and then mapped them into MIDI patterns in order to obtain his piano lines.

"If you stretch them (the waveform models) out, you get other waves inside them," said Jeffes. "You can get the computer to just track the shape of the waveform-and that's how I was getting all the piano melodies."

Additionally, Jeffes is working on another project with Jean-Michel Desert, another astrophysicist at NASA, to develop an algorithm that turns data from exoplanets into musical pieces.

The algorithm requires eight characteristics of any mean planet such as the surface gravity compared to that of Earth, Jeffes said.

When they get a planet that is very similar to Earth, Jeffes said the melody that the algorithm produces sounds like a nursery rhyme with small intervals. If they get a planet like Jupiter which has different characteristics, the generated sounds will turn out bizarre.

Listen to the piece called "Black Hole 5.0" below.

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