Visualize DNA structure through Music

DNA can be represented in a variety of ways, which can provide different visual perspectives of molecular structure.This Musical Atlas presents an aural representation of the B-DNA molecules without mismatches, drugs, or modifiers.For each structure, there is a "Plain Melody," which follows a simple algorithm to highlight the structure's sequence, and a "Composition," which follows a more complicated algorithm that features the base pairing of the structure.


In each melody, each base in the sequence is played for one beat.


For each composition, there are four measures in which every quarter note gets one beat.

The number of beats per measure is based upon the length of the nucleotide; the number of beats per measure is half the number of bases per strand.

The sequences used here all had an even number of base pairs. However, if a sequence contained an odd number of bases, the number of beats per measure will be half that amount minus the remainder.

Each base in the asymmetrical strand is an eighth note (as opposed to the quarter note used in the Plain Melody; an eighth note is half the length of a quarter note).

The compositions consist of two lines:

Melodic Line

The melodic line is the melody derived directly from the sequence of the molecules. If the asymmetric strand is self-complementary, the DNA molecule will have only one melody. If the strand(s) in the asymmetrical unit is(are) not self-complementary, both the asymmetrical strand and its symmetry related strand each have a separate melody.

In this algorithm, there are four measures to each melody. The melodic line consists the sequence being repeated of the asymmetrical sequence being repeated four times.

Bass Line

The first measure is a full measure rest for the bass line while the full sequence is played on the melodic line.

The second measure begins with the complimentary strand. This strand is read 3' to 5' (essentially, it base pairs with the melody).

The third measure slightly expands upon the base pairing concept of the second measure. Using notes from the a minor scale, the base pairing note in the bass line is followed by specifically assigned notes to create counterpoint while the melody is being

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