Have your ever wondered what your dreams would sound like if they were set to music?
Well, Hannu Toivonen has, so he went ahead and developed software that automatically composes synthetic music using data culled from a person's sleep and dream statistics. Toivonen, a professor of computer science at the University of Helsinki, worked together with Aurora Tulilaulu, a student who composed the program.
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"The software composes a unique piece based on the stages of sleep,
movement, heart rate and breathing. It compresses a night’s sleep into a
couple of minutes," Tulilaulu described in a university press release.
The project uses a Beddit sleep measurement sensor placed under one's mattress that measures and gathers data during sleep.
"Heartbeats and respiratory rhythm are extracted from the sensor's
measurement signal, and the stages of sleep are deducted from them,"
said Joonas Paalasmaa, a post-graduate student who designed the sleep stage software for Beddit, a company that provides
services in the field of sleep analysis.
According to the composition service's website, musicological principles such as melody, rhythm, tempo and arrangement and volume are inspired but not dictated by the sleep data. Essentially, the end result is a musical compression of eight hours of sleep into an original piece of music.
What's more is that, by signing up for this service, your musical dreamscapes can be shared with others on sleepmusicalization.net.
Maybe it's because I didn't experience the visual templates, or perhaps because they're the soundtracks of other people's dreams, but listening to a handful of these submitted songs left me with a sense of incompletion, as if the piano-dominate music would be an inadequate representation of my dreams.
So, to best represent the musical see-saw upon my mind's nocturnal playground, I've chosen three songs (and videos) from my dream mix: Arthur Russell's "Love Is Overtaking Me" for those rambling, sun-refracted dreams of positivity, nature and exploration. On the other side of that coin is The Flaming Lips' "The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine" for those nightmares of danger, exploitation and ski-masked kidnappers cutting the bottom your of toes with razor blades. And for a general dose of psychedelic, existential angst, Fiona Apple's "Every Single Night."
Sweet dreams, kids. And feel free to give us a listen to what songs are on your dream playlist in the comments below.