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London composer makes beautiful music with gravitational waves

Gravitational waves get their first hit single.


Nia Wesley


Posted on Feb 18, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 5:01 am CDT

The science community has had a lot to celebrate since last week’s groundbreaking confirmation of gravitational waves, and now it can bring some fitting music to the party.

A London composer got creative with the evidence detected last week by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Arthur Jeffes produced a song using the actual recording of the gravitational waves. The song, called “Black Hole 5.0,” already has more than 3,400 plays on YouTube and its composition is just as simple as it is complex.

“For this piece the only sounds are piano, strings and gravitational waves. the piano line comes from mapping a Neutron Star/Neutron Star collision curve into midi and quantising into the correct key,” reads the song description.

The composer took data from the colliding black holes into music editing software where he manipulated his own music in correlation with the waves. 

Jeffes is particularity interested in space sounds. In 2012 he composed a piece using a narrowband radio signal.

Screengrab via National Space Foundation/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 18, 2016, 12:20 pm CST