Music, Tech

COVID-19’s genetic code turned into ambient tracks

We have to admit, this is pretty cool.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Feb 18, 2022

We have to admit, COVID-19 has been the true soundtrack of our lives for the past two years (and counting). And apparently, picking up NFTs of ambient tunes made by music producers can give you a good idea of what it sounds like. If you, like many others, found refuge and escapism in music throughout the various lockdowns of 2020, then the future is promising an obscure—yet meaningful—treat.


A firm called ViroMusic is employing a technology called DNA Sonification to generate original ambient compositions using the numerous viral sequences from all known strains of COVID-19, so why not give your ears a taste of the experience if you’ve already lost your sense of taste or smell?


You’re probably thinking about sneezes and coughs, but you’re completely mistaken. Producers use the virus’ genetic code to create a song by matching musical notes to each sequence in the virus’ genetic code. This is then mastered, and strings, bass, and percussion are added to create an ambient tune.


Because there are just 21 codons (groupings of three letters that make up amino acids) in all of DNA, each one can be simply ascribed to a specific note within a musical scale. When recordings are imported, the result is a unified melody rather than a jumble of competing notes.


“Not a single note has been altered – it’s a direct musical representation of the viral code,” said ViroMusic. “We hope this project helps to raise awareness that even a virus capable of inflicting such misery is fundamentally based on the same code as every living thing on Earth,” they continued.


While you may listen to a few samples of around 10,000 songs created on YouTube for free, individuals who want their own will have to pay 0.07 Ethereum (about $216). Yes, that does mean they’re only available as NFTs.


Those who pay the money will receive precise information about their chosen music, such as which part of COVID-19’s genetic sequence was used to create the tune and a description of what the gene accomplishes in the context of a virus.


I hope that we don’t have to go through another lockdown in the not-too-distant future, scouring the Metaverse and buying NFTs while our customized ‘Rona jaunts glitter away in the backdrop.


If you want to learn more about the process in detail, below is a video created by Viromusic, detailing how they use genetic sequencing to make music.



You can also listen to a track below.



In related news, HitPiece, a new NFT music platform, was accused recently of stealing music, read more about it.


Photo via YouTube/ViroMusic