Snowfall: An Interactive Composition
Popular culture frames the event of snowfall as a joyful occasion. For many who live in colder climates, however, winter precipitation can be anything but joyful. It can feel isolating, depressing, even terrifying. Michigan's Keweenaw County, located in the state's upper peninsula, is famous for its immense yearly snowfall accumulation; many who dwell there are keenly aware of the harsh reality of winter. This composition conveys through musical sonification the apprehension, the sadness, and the fear that can be felt during the months of snow. You can learn more about how and why this composition came to be by reading the feature about it.
This composition is dynamically generated; every performance is unique. Each measure corresponds to a day, a low octave heralding its arrival. For each inch of snowfall, a melody note is played. As the snow piles up on the ground, a drone embodies the anxiety that builds for the isolated, the depressed, and fearful. The brightness of each data point corresponds to the severity of the snowfall on that particular day compared to that of the rest of its containing year.
Headphones are recommended.
Thank you to the Keweenaw County Road Commission for providing the data used in this generated composition.