Project to use music to track melting ice in Antarctic

A composer was in the Antarctic with a scientific exhibition to collect data that will be used in the creation of a piece based on melting ice patterns in the region.

A view of Antarctica from a flyover. Image credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Glenn McClure has had a long musical career as a composer and faculty member at the Eastman School of Music. In his composition, he will use infra-gravity sound wave data and convert it into a range we can hear.

He explained why he thought the project was important and how it could benefit science as well as music. “One of the things we artists can do is to explain the work of scientists to the general public,” McClure commented. “It accommodates the ability of scientists to communicate with people outside of their field. This examination of the synergies between the arts and sciences goes to the heart of a liberal arts education.”

The rate of melting ice in the Antarctic has been an issue of growing concern for scientists over recent times. NASA researchers reported in the journal Nature Communications that between 2002 and 2009 in particular, the rate at which Antarctica’s ice shelves were melting increased dramatically.

McClure previously worked with the European Space Agency to produce a composition based on data from its Rosetta mission. The ESA mission involved sending a spacecraft to land on a comet so as to gather data on their make-up and potential clues for the origin of life on Earth.

Similar collaborations between music and the sciences are rapidly increasing. Earlier this month, we reported on a musical work created using data on the impact climate change was having on trees. It enabled the listener to experience the changing landscapes of Alaska.


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