Scientists made music from cobwebs

The authors of the new work report that they have translated the structure of the web into music.

Markus Buehler, Ph.D.

interested in music and wondered if rhythms and melodies of non-human origin could be extracted from natural materials such as spider webs.

The web could be a new source of musicalinspiration, says Buhler. He, along with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tomás Saraceno from the Tomás Saraceno studio, planned to gain a new understanding of 3D architecture and the construction of spider webs.

The researchers scanned natural spider webs with a laser to capture 2D cross sections and then used computer algorithms to reconstruct the 3D web of the spider web.

The team assigned different frequencies of sound to the threads of the net, creating notes. They were then combined into patterns based on a three-dimensional network structure to generate melodies.

Researchers have created a harp-like instrument and played cobweb music in several live performances around the world.

In other experiments, the authors investigated how the sound of a spider web changes when it is subjected to various mechanical forces, such as stretching.

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