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Translating the Stars into Music

UM System’s four campuses provide research, innovation and creative learning opportunities that enhance the cultural vibrancy of Missouri. 

What would the constellation pattern above UMKC's Miller Nichols Library sound like if it were superimposed onto a Victorian-era music box disc?

To find out, Daniel Warneke -- an MFA in Sound Design student -- created "Stella's Starlight" for the Marr Sound Archives' Stella music box. Taking a cue from 20th century composer John Cage, Warneke created a mathematical map of the stars over the library on Jan. 1, 2011. The chart was then etched into a disc and theatre instructor, Dwight Frizzell, later created a composition from the disc's contents.

"The class is a two-semester course and we look at audio art, which is acknowledging the history of audio recording technologies," says Frizzell. "Students are not just doing intensive research and writing research papers, but they are also applying ideas and concepts from what other artists have done in fresh and creative ways.