Neuroscientist turns brain waves into music

31 August 2012, 11:34

Columbia-based neuroscientist and musician David Sulzer has turned brain waves into a musical composition

David Sulzer, a neuroscientist and musician from Columbia, US, has succeeded in turning brain waves into a musical composition. Using electrodes attached to his scalp, Sulzer's brain activity was fed into a machine that turns the brain activity into music while re read a book.

The music itself, described as 'avant-garde', has been performed and composed as part of an ongoing research project at Columbia University's Computer Music Centre. Performances consist of nothing more than Sulzer sitting and reading the work of comedian Stephen Colbert.

Sulzer commented: "Luckily, the book was funny and I laughed, which changed the music." While innovative, Sulzer is unconvinced that the project will result in any music superior to examples composed traditionally.

The brains behind the computer that converts the brain activity into music, Brad Garton, described the collaboration with Sulzer: "I knew the digital synthesis and audio side of things, he had the knowledge of neurotechnology and brain waves—it was the perfect match."

Sulzer has previously collaborated with John Cale of The Velvet Underground and Bo Diddley, and once formed an orchestra of elephants in Thailand. It is currently unknown if there any plans to commercially release music from the project.