The Georgia Tech Sonification Lab has developed a soundtrack and sonification of the 2017 Solar Eclipse, to help persons with vision loss experience the eclipse. The soundtrack is composed of three sound layers: First, there is the pre-composed base track, which conveys the temporal dynamics, as well as the changing light levels. The base layer also conveys the emotion, tension, and anticipation of this unique experience. Next, there are additional sounds that represent various happenings, such as the emergence of crickets and frog sounds as the "false dusk" happens, and bird calls at the "false dawn" as the sun emerges after totality. Finally, there is a layer of musical sounds that are generated live, in realtime, based on meteorological data such as temperature, barometric pressure, and so on. Here's a Demo Soundtrack Video (only 9 minutes long, but it gives a sense of the various portions of the experience).
The eclipse of 2017 has passed. We hope you were able to enjoy the
experience. Recordings of the entire live feeds from both Atlanta and
Hopkinsville (including both the pre-composed base soundtrack, plus the
overlaid live data-driven musical elements) are available now (see below).
Atlanta, Georgia stream:
Hopkinsville, Kentucky stream:
[You can also check out the recording of the live telescope feed from the GT College of Science (see below). That feed was accompanied by only the pre-recorded portion of our soundtrack.]
Prof. Bruce N. Walker
Videos from Georgia Tech
See the Georgia Tech press page about this Eclipse Sonification Project.
The complete live feed that was broadcast by the Georgia Tech College of Science, including visuals of the eclipse from the GT telescope, accompanied by the 45-minute precomposed portion of the eclipse soundtrack. Note that this version does not contain the live, data-driven musical elements.
Demo Movie helps explains how the base sounds were designed.
Videos from AT&T
See the AT&T Press Room page for the Eclipse.
AT&T and Aira are launching a new device to help blind users interact with their world. The eclipse was a great showcase. The GT Sonification Lab was pleased to be a part of the project.
James will be experiencing the eclipse in a whole new way.
Innovation, Education and Bringing a New Experience to the Blind.
Other Press Coverage
Mashable: A brand new composition will help blind people experience the eclipse, by Miriam Kramer
WABE: Ga. Tech Creates Soundtrack For Atlanta's Solar Eclipse, by Miranda Hawkins
Hypepotamus: Georgia Tech Researchers Translate Data Into Music to Help Blind Individuals Experience Solar Eclipse, by Holly Beilin
GPB: Composing An Eclipse Soundtrack For The Visually Impaired, by Sam Whitehead
This project has been realized in collaboration with AT&T. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the collaborators or sponsors.
Georgia Tech Sonification Lab