University of Colorado Hospital Launches “Human Harmonic” Album

UCH creates the first musical representation of the human body at work
April 8th, 2015

Contact: Jessica Berry  720-848-5878; Jessica.Berry@uchealth.org

AURORA, Colo. – The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH), has created a symphony of sound based on different aspects of the human body.  Billed as “an album 200,000 years in the making,” the Human Harmonic project enlisted the help of audio engineers to convert data from DNA sequences and ECG and EEG readings into a sonic representation of the human body.

The sound of a heartbeat is the most mainstream in our society.  It’s used in movies as sound effects, or to lull babies to sleep—we can even listen to the beats of our own heart through a stethoscope.

But we wondered, what would other functions of the human body sound like?  What if we assigned musical notes to health indicators like a DNA strain, or brain activity? UCH’s Human Harmonic project created a symphony of sound, opening our ears to the complexity and beauty of the human body in a completely new way.

To create the track, we sourced data from four fields of medicine: cardiology, neuroscience, oncology, and endocrinology. On the website, you can isolate the elements of the track to hear only one piece at a time.

One of the tracks used in the Human Harmonic Project was based on a sequence of DNA.  Increasingly, our doctors now read parts of our DNA sequences to diagnose disease, predict future health problems, and determine which medicines might work best to treat illnesses.  Some doctors predict that in a few years, nearly all patients will have their DNA sequences included as part of their medical record.

“Scientists have made great strides in understanding how cells ‘read’ our DNA sequences, but we have limited understanding of what this process ’sounds’ like to a cell. And while we cannot shrink ourselves down to the size of a human cell, I found it soothing to listen to a DNA sequence transformed into a musical experience and briefly contemplate some of the biological harmony contained in our DNA,” said Dr. Matt Taylor, director of the Genetics and Personalized Medicine program at UCH.

The tracks can be accessed at www.humanharmonic.com and downloaded at no charge.

About University of Colorado Hospital

University of Colorado Hospital is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading academic medical center.  UCH is best known as an innovator in patient care and often as one of the first hospitals to bring new medicine to the patients’ bedside.  University HealthSystem Consortium named UCH the #1 Academic Medical Center in quality in the nation in both 2011 and 2012, and U.S. News & World Report named University of Colorado Hospital the best hospital in Colorado in 2012 and 2013.  UCH is one of five Colorado hospitals that make up University of Colorado Health.  The hospital’s physicians are affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, part of the University of Colorado system.  Based on the expansive Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO, the hospital is where patient care, research and education converge to establish the future of health care delivery.

About the author

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.