Global Warming Demonstrated through Music

From the New York Times

A Minnesota Quartet, tuned to temperature from the equator to the Arctic, performs Global Warming

The University of Minnesota’s environmental magazine Ensia has posted on the latest effort by a cello –playing undergraduate Daniel Crawford and the geographer Scott St George to create a musical composition reflecting aspects of global climate change. 

Global Warming, Climate ChangeThe composition Planetary Bands, Warming World uses music to create a visceral encounter with more than a century’s worth of weather data collected across the northern half of the planet. 

Crawford composed the piece featuring performance by students Julian Maddox, Jason Shu, Alastair Witherspoon and Nygel Witherspoon from the University of Minnesota’s School of Music.  As Crawford explains in the video, “Each instrument represents a specific part of the Northern Hemisphere.  The pitch of each note is tuned to the average annual temperature in each region, so low notes represent cold years and high note represent warm years. 

Through music, the composition bridges the divide between logic and emotion, St. George says.  “We often think of the science and the arts as completely separate – almost like opposites, but using music to share these data is just as scientifically valid as plotting lines on a graph,” he says.  “Listening to the violin climb almost the entire range of the instrument is incredibly effect at illustrating the magnitude of the change, particularly in the Arctic which has warmed more than any other part of the planet.