How Fungi Can Be Used to Make Plant Music
We’ve written countless articles about fungi, highlighting their versatility and different uses. Fungi can sequester carbon and break down plastics; they are fantastic nutrients and work as antioxidants and antidiabetics. The success of fungi as organisms and their influence on the environment comes from their ability to span multiple dimensions of time, space, and biological interactions.
We haven’t told you yet how fungi can be used to make plant music. Canadian musician Tarun Nayar is known to make nature-inspired electronic music under the name Modern Biology. Tarun’s music is created by recording the bioelectric pulses from plants and fungi and overlays his original compositions. Tarun uses a variety of modular synthesizers and small jump cables attached to the fungi to create these sounds and make plant music.
Tarun is a trained biologist with formal training in Indian classical music. Using these two skills, Tarun built his own synthesizers that convert the plant and mushroom into bioelectricity and ambient electromagnetic radiation, field recordings and other environmental sources into musical information. In other words, he can make plant music.
The changes in a plant’s electrical resistance (caused by the water inside the plants) are translated into pitch and rhythm changes on a synthesizer. The water uptake or the plants drying out can be converted into control voltage and can change the sounds, kind of like note changes. Indian classical music is heavily influenced by vibrations, which helped him tap into what the fungi are trying to say. Tarun is also experimenting with the bioelectric pulses from papaya, watermelon and cacti.
See also: ISYLA – Songs for Change on Climate.
PlantWave developed a technology similar to the one Tarun uses, allowing anyone to tune into nature’s sounds right in their headphones and not just on fungi. The company uses sonification technology to turn any plants’ biorhythms into music.
PLANTChoir is a device that allows you to compose, generate, and listen to real-time music produced by plants. Using biofeedback technology and a custom mobile app, Plant Choir allows you to interact with your plants and make plant music.
Plant neurobiology is a growing field that explores the idea that plants have analogous nervous systems and use electrical impulses to communicate. Plugging cables into them and listening to them on an amplifier is the electrical activity occurring inside the plants. While it is cool to see and hear how plants and fungi can make plant music through their electrical changes, this technology might be an essential way to understand how plants process information and respond to different environmental changes. Using and understanding this electrical activity, we can understand how plants communicate with each other and help predict how they will act in the future.
It has been suggested that playing certain types of music can promote faster and healthier plant growth. However, scientific studies show there is no evidence to suggest to support this urban legend. However, there are a few studies that have shown that plants can respond to music and sounds in some way. For example, one study found that plants exposed to classical music had increased levels of chlorophyll, which is a plant pigment that helps plants photosynthesize. Another study found that plants exposed to the sounds of insects chewing had a better ability to defend themselves against pests.
Utilizing nature in art is another way to show how versatile it is. Just when we think fungi have done enough for us, we find another purpose for them. Our technology is so advanced now that we can understand plants and fungi to another level and utilize them for science, research, and even make plant music. It also gives us another way to connect with nature and show and remind us that nature is alive and we should treat it respectfully.