Chapter 5 Music

5.1 Climate Data as Inspiration

Students should look to the suggested climate data resources, or other reputable information, for inspiration to create a musical piece to be performed with their PVC instruments. Students should be allowed maximum creative freedom to interpret their data in musical form but some suggestions include converting wind speed changes into pitch variation, temperature into tempo, or spikes into percussion. Students should brainstorm and work among small teams to document their data source, their method of interpretation, and their data-to-music philosophy.

5.1.1 Documentation

After studying data and constructing their instrument(s), students should begin their journey toward a musical performance by working out a system of notation for their music. As a simple example, low notes may be indicated by a minus (-) sign. High notes may be indicated by a plus (+) sign. Short notes may be indicated by a dot (.) before the sign and long notes may be indicated by a series of notes following the sign where each dot indicates additional time. That is, the notation could be written as

.- | .- | .- | +…

to indicate three short, low notes followed by one relatively long high note. Students should create a notation system that can be followed by others so be sure they create a key indicating their system meaning and including any notes that would be useful to an outside learner trying to reproduce their musical piece.

Students may also use letter-sized paper or posters to create a document, for public display, that describes their data set and music concept. Students should describe the data, what part(s) of it were used for inspiration, and how they imagined that data as sound. In other words, how did you translate your understanding of data into music? What was your journey and how did you end up where you are now?

5.2 Performance

Students will perform in small teams or pairs. A team leader should announce the piece and include a brief informative talk about the data source and how it was used to inspire the musical performance. Student performances should be brief – perhaps 1-3 minutes. Creativity should be rewarded and students may be evaluated with regard to their integration of climate science, instrument construction, and concept development. Acknowledging that students are likely beginners at playing these instruments, students should not be assessed on their actual performance quality. This should be a fun exercise and is meant to inspire students to develop construction skills and foster interest in music and climate science.

Recordings of each performance may be made to document the results of the work. Recordings could be used for publication on social media if desired.