Atom tone

Sonification of spectroscopic atomic data, software+performance

since 2015

klingt.gut!, ICAD, DNO, Institute of Sonology, NEXT festival, Spectrum Berlin...

max/msp complex signification patch + performance



The base material for the formation of all the sounds are spectral lines of atoms converted into frequencies of tens to thousands of oscillators of additive synthesis. Each element generates a unique sound spectrum, which is further transformed and modulated by numbers of the Mendeleev Periodic Table of Elements. The project attempts to convert the chemical and physical logic into musical one.



Chemical reaction as music.


The project started with my residency (supported of the International Visegrad Fund) at A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, where I worked on the development of an “atomic sound synthesis”. For further musical cooperation I invited Angakok Thoth, Slovak artist who would refill otherwise strictly digitally generated sound with analog synthesis and processes in his modular synthesizer. During this residency was developed basic system and concept of the sonification of spectroscopic datasets.



 Each spectral line means one oscillator (sine/tri/saw/tang/wave). The relative intensity is logarithmically recalculated into he loudness of the osc. I use data from NIST database for this project. I use all wavelengths observed in vacuum. So even non visible light is sonificated. Because of huge amount of the lines ( sometimes few thousands) I had to reduce them to not overload the processor with my max/msp patch. Supercollider would be more suitable, but thats the next step… 


From light wavelength in nm I get frequency of the light. The recalculation of the light frequencies of emission/absorption lines into the sound is done by simple dividing. From Thz range I have to go into the audible range 20Hz-20kHz. The dividing factor can be adjusted to create frequency range which fits to my musical needs.

I use dedicated atom’s parameter numbers from Mendeleev periodic table as a modulation sources for filtering, frequency shifting, waveshaping etc…. So the generated spectrum from spectral lines is further transformed. As I realize that it is not possible to logically set one atom parameter to sound parameter I decided to make routable matrix for subjective data routing and own playfull discovering of the inner hidden atomic sonic logic. 



specific research

In years 2016-2018 I continued with development of the project thanks to Specific research at JAMU. I developed more possibilities of the sonification and also presented the project through many concerts.Presentation of the project was also at two international conferences: ICAD 2016 (Canberra) and klingt.gut! Symposium on Sound (Hamburg) where the project was awarded for “Excellence in sound-art and sound design” in category performances. In 2019 I worked at STEIM (Amsterdam) on hardware interface for this software. 
























The interface can be connected (USB) with my max/msp patch and controls the important parameters. The aim is to avoid the touching the computer or even midi controller during the concerts. Three touch strips (position+pressure) controls the selection and amplitude of the element. Pots + encoders transform the parameters of the currently played sound. The switching matrix can change routing of data from Mendeleev periodic table to selected destinations ( frequency shifting, amplitude modulations, Mendeleev envelope setup etc.)




Audio composition where all sounds were created with Atom tone v2.0 software.

It was premiered at Discussion Concert #4 at Institute of Sonology, 22/3/2017.

Original 8-channel composition was down-mixed into stereo, mp3, 44.1kHz, 320kbps

Composition will be part of the VINYL record documentation of the project Specific research at JAMU. 

(right-click to download-save as)




Conference papers









Divadlo na Orlí, Brno, 12/5/2016 (vlastní organizace koncertu)

festival Echofluxx, Praha, 7/5/2016

ICAD 2016, Canberra, 6/7/2016

festival Sound City Days, Košice, 24/9/2016

Discussion Concert #4, Institute of Sonology, Haag, 22/3/2017

Spektrum Berlin, Berlin, 23/3/2017

Silent Night, divadlo Ponec, Praha, 23/9/2017

2hod interview o projektu, celostátní vysílání, radio Wave, 16/9/2017

Setkávání nové hudby Plus, komorní sál Jamu, Brno, 30/10/2017

festival PAF, Olomouc, 8/12/2017

Plnka, Fuga, Bratislava, 4/5/2018

Sonitus, Punctum, Praha, 11/5/2018

klingt.gut! Symposium on sound, Hamburg, 8/6/2018

festival Bučení, Lubná, 11/8/2018

ZHLUK, T3 Bratislava + Šopa gallery, Košice, 25/9/2018

Petrohradská kolektiv, Praha, 17/11/2018

Connector XVII, STEIM, Amsterdam, 6/12/2018