The Queensland Conservatorium will play host to a series of weird and wonderful sonic experiments as part of the World Science Festival this month.

The series of free events are part of an exciting program called 100 Ways to Listen, which explores the crossroads where music meets science and celebrates the innovative music-making of the Conservatorium’s all-star faculty and students.

The science of sound will be unpacked through performances, installations and sound walks. From a new composition played on 84 pianos across the Conservatorium simultaneously, to music inspired by quantum physics and a large scale interactive music technology installation, there is something for science nerds and music buffs alike.

These sonic experiments will culminate in a publication launched in July to coincide with World Listening Day.

Time Crystals

Associate Professor Vanessa Tomlinson and Dr Erik Griswold have teamed up to create a ‘choose-your-own musical adventure’, debuting a new piecethat will be played by 84 pianists across the Conservatorium at the same time.

They will also perform Time Crystals, a composition inspired by the work of Nobel-winning physicist Frank Wilczek, who proposed the idea of perpetually moving, multi-dimensional structures. The piece transforms the principles of hard science into sound structures, performed on a prepared piano and a variety of percussion instruments.

“Much like scientists, we propose these experiments and try and find out what happens when we realise them,” Associate Professor Tomlinson said.

“The concept of a time crystal into sound is one experiment.

“Another experiment is what happens when we sound 84 pianos in the Conservatorium simultaneously.

“We are sonic investigators.”

Sonic Playground

Dr. John Ferguson has created a large scale music technology installation, Sonic Playground, which will take over the Queensland Conservatorium foyer during the World Science Festival.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said.

“We’re using technology to ask questions about art and music, and what other forms of listening are there.”

Sonic Environments

Dr. Leah Barclay is running a series of interactive augmented reality sound walks across South Bank, as part of Sonic Environments, which allows people to listen to interactive soundscapes triggered by GPS.

“These interactive experiences are a balance between art and science, and they are designed to inspire people to listen at a time when it’s particularly important to listen to the environment,” she said.