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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Mar01

By Mark Wright

LDS Musician Creates 'Music of the Human Genome'

ST JOSEPH, MISSOURI -- It's often said that music is the song of the heart. According to Dr. Brent Hugh, the rest of the body would also like to make a little music of its own. Hugh, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is currently working as an assistant professor of music at Missouri Western State College. Hugh, trained in both the sciences and in music, is an accomplished musician with a number of recording credits.

Hugh's latest effort is the result of a unique process, wherein Dr. Hugh has created music using equal parts of artistry and science. Hugh has created music from the human genome. The human genome is sometimes referred to as the "blueprint of life" and describes the makeup of the human organism. The composition, entitled "Music of the Human Genome," is getting noticed by a number of different sources and is getting airtime on the internet.

In order to create the music, Hugh wrote a special computer program to translated the genetic code into a series of notes and rhythms. However, after the initial work was completed, the human genome provided enough material to create a musical composition that would take more than a month to play. Hugh realized that he would have to do some judicious editing and selected six different chromosomes, giving each of them different computer-generated sounds so they'd be distinguishable from each other, similar to having different voices singing different parts. "(The notes) are totally random, but yet you can give them musical shape," he says. "It was possible to arrange them so that they did make sense." According to Dr. Hugh, the end result is "like listening to the music that's been there within your body the whole time, but you've never been able to hear it before."

Although the music may have a limited appeal in the broad marketplace, it is gaining notoriety on the Internet. The exposure on the Internet is creating both a fan base and some income for Dr. Hugh. The Music of the Human Genome has been ranked No. 1 in the classical/minimalist music category at and has garnered more than $4,000 in royalties for Hugh. While the money is no doubt appreciated, Hugh's attitude shows that he's just happy to be making music. "Someone is getting something out of it, it's not just sitting in your closet. That's what makes it worthwhile for me," he says.

Note doubt inspired by his current success with his human genome composition, Dr. Hugh isn't finished with his efforts to unlock the music that surrounds us in nature. His current projects include musical compositions based on seismograph recordings of earthquakes. It seems as though Dr. Hugh's music can definitely help you get in touch; both with your inner self and the world around you.

Music of the Human Genome can be found on the Internet at .

Dr. Hugh's other compositions, including his piano music, can be found on the Internet at .


Off Hours: Unchained melody
St. Joseph MO News-Press 7Mar01 A2
By Jonathan Houghton
Missouri Western State College instructor Dr. Brent Hugh recently composed 'Music of the Human Genome' using human DNA coding.


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