1.     What is ClimateMusic?

ClimateMusic is original music that is inspired and driven by climate data.   Our intent is to create music that is engaging and that people will want to listen to, while providing insights on climate change.   It is not merely the sonification of data sets, nor is it merely a composer’s subjective interpretation of what climate change might “sound like” without referencing any data sets.   ClimateMusic can be created in any musical genre for any audience, anywhere in the world. 

2. Why Climate Music?

For many people, the concept of climate change is difficult to comprehend.  The climate is a complex and dynamic system that operates across multiple time scales and is influenced by many variables.  Most people experience what they think of as “the climate” on a daily basis as weather and dont have the perspective to place in context subtle and not so subtle changes that are taking place over time.  As an analogy for climate, however, music is familiar and accessible, and consequently is much easier to relate to within the context of human experience and understanding.  With ClimateMusic hundreds of years of the climate record can be compressed into the normal duration of a musical composition, with climate variables expressed as individual musical voices or as dynamic musical qualities, such as pitch, tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. 

3.  How “scientific” is your music?

ClimateMusic is science-inspired art, not art-inspired science. It is the result of a creative process between composers and a science team that together determine how to translate data into musical elements within the context of a larger score. Some features of the music are driven directly by data in various ways throughout the piece. Other elements are less constrained, allowing the composer to craft a compelling musical arc that reflects a unique artistic understanding of the scientific story behind the data. Consequently, there is a human element in the music that is not strictly “scientific”. Visual animations support the music, providing a direct reference to the underlying scientific data. Moreover, each performance is coupled with a post-concert public forum during which our audiences have the opportunity to engage with our scientists and composer about the interpretation of the music. For additional detail on how the music comes together, please visit the “Current Work” page on this website.

4. What are your data sources?  

The data sets for the composition that we are currently performing, “Climate”, by composer Erik Ian Walker, are from simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM), an open model that has been used extensively in national and international assessments of climate change. CESM is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Energy.   Please visit http://www2.cesm.ucar.edu for additional information. For future compositions we may use other sources.

5.     Are your performances appropriate for children? 

Due to the serious nature of the underlying topic, we feel that ClimateMusic is most appropriate for adults and youths 12 years and older.   We advise parental discretion for children younger than 12 years.  The length of the performances, and the at times challenging nature of the music, means that ClimateMusic generally is not appropriate for young children.

6.     Why don’t you post any recordings of your music on your website or on Facebook?

ClimateMusic is not intended to be “stand alone” music.  The visual references and the post-concert public forums that we integrate into every performance are critical elements that provide a necessary context for the music.  We are exploring the creation of videocasts that could be uploaded to the site and social media.

7. Can you perform at my school, church, company, or event?

Please send a request to theclimatemusicproject@gmail.com  to start the conversation. Please allow sufficient time for us to fit your group within our performance calendar, i.e., ideally the conversation should start several months in advance of the event.  Due to our limited resources, we are unable to accept all inquiries at this time. Please note also that we operate on a cost-recovery basis.

8. Are you planning performances outside of the San Francisco Bay Area?

Our performances during the 2016 cycle (running through the summer) will be in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Starting in late 2016 we plan to venture beyond the region.

9.     How are you funded?

We are a non-profit organization that has received funding from individual benefactors, a crowd-sourcing campaign, and a corporate grant.  We welcome and are actively seeking additional financial support.  Please visit the “support us” page on this website for additional information and a link to make donations.

10.     How can I support your work? 

We gratefully accept donations on the “support us” page of this website. We are actively seeking sponsors for performances, grants to allow us to help us reach diverse audiences, etc.  You can also support the project by purchasing climate art from our webstore on this site.

11.     How can I get involved?

If you are a composer, musician, or have special skills that you would like to contribute, please send a note to theclimatemusicproject@gmail.com   We also actively recruit student interns and adult volunteers.