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
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 MP3.com 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.