DavidsonDean LLC, the Nashville, TN-based developer of science and art focused educational products, has created an iPhone application that literally brings music down from the stars. Called AstroCantus (Latin for star songs), the app detects the differing arrays of stars, planets and galaxies as the earth turns and assigns each of these celestial objects and configurations a musical value. The user can then transform these values into notes that can be played in real time on a wide variety of digitally sampled instruments.
The musical possibilities are infinite.
AstroCantus generates music by drawing upon vast astronomical databases of more than 120,000 objects, the contents of which shift and change as the earth revolves.
"Earth is the instrument, the universe is the score," says the concept's creator, Rocky Alvey. "Earth turns at a steady rate. Over our heads is an imaginary line astronomers call the 'meridian.' Imagine that line functioning just as the reader bar does in a player piano or the tines do in a music box. As Earth turns, every object in the universe crosses the meridian. If we assign musical values to the objects, then Earth becomes the instrument which plays the universe."
Songwriters and musicians will use AstroCantus as an inspiration for new melodies and rhythms. Teachers and anyone who loves astronomy will value it as a device, which makes stargazing a more inviting and intimate experience. Visually impaired individuals can "hear" the universe in all its variety, depth and majesty. "Anyone who loves music," says Alvey, "will find AstroCantus spellbinding."
DavidsonDean LLC tapped Alvey to direct the Paramore.is team which developed AstroCantus from concept to market-ready. The developers are also making the technology available to planetariums, science centers, museums and schools.