Composing music from neuronal activity - The Spikiss
Alain Destexhe and Luc Foubert
In: Exploring Transdisciplinarity in Art and Sciences,
Edited by Kapoula, Z., Volle, E., Renoult, J. and Andreatta, M.
Springer, New York, pp. 237-253, 2018.
We describe here an attempt to compose music, constrained by
recordings of brain activity where excitatory and inhibitory
neurons were discriminated and used to trigger simple tones or more
complex sounds. We used experimental recordings of brain activity
under the form of spikes, recorded with microelectrodes in human
subjects. The recordings come from different sources, which have
been all published in the neuroscience literature. We emphasize
here the natural rhythmical activity of neurons, in particular,
that of inhibitory neurons. Inhibitory neurons are thus naturally
suited for driving bass sounds and rhythmic sections. The sparser
activity of excitatory neurons is exploited here to reveal melodic
capabilities, which are sometimes exacerbated by subjective choice
of scales and tones. We explain step by step how this can be done
and provide examples of musical sequences and tracks composed from
neuronal activity during different brain states, such as
wakefulness, deep sleep, or paradoxical sleep (dreaming). We
suggest to extend this approach to more global signals, such as the
electroencephalogram or neuroimaging signals.
return to main page