Beethoven's Deaf Gene

By Stuart Mitchell

For the past 25 years the development of DNA music has progressed in parallel with new technical discoveries by Geneticists around the world. Today these advancements are providing us with wonderful new opportunities of experiencing this medium of biological music in ways that we only dreamed before.

There is an amazing clarity coming through the technology of DNA science now with the musical aspects becoming more and more ‘real' to all our ears. With such an insight into the biological program, it must surely be undeniable to anyone now the musicality of the synthesis and processes of the DNA system. The helix is now considered an independent art form with purpose and structure, a musical system already in place before our species even considered what music was or was destined to become within the infrastructure of our society.

I now feel that DNA music is the simplest explanation to a creative driving force behind life than ive ever heard of. It opens the idea that we are each a symphony within a symphony, singing to a song of life that is unstoppable and in constant development. Life itself could be looked upon now as ‘a bio-musical improvisation with variations' because the code ‘mutates' the melody at the base level of DNA by varying one or two letters of code in order to create an incredibly wide variety of organisms (bio-symphonies) on many environmental levels.


To scientists this is amazing enough, but to a musician it is the ‘Holy Grail' to find the language one has developed and communicated all one's life embedded into the operational system of the basis of all life.

It is like a ‘Library of Musical Scores' containing the sequential blueprints for the resonant construction of biological matter into vibrating cellular beings. For a composer this ‘Holy grail' opens up ideas and avenues of inspiration that really challenge your mind and soul.

One of my biggest challenges was a recent commissioned project...

Beethoven 2I have been active in the study, translation and composition of DNA music for the past 5 years now and I was recently commissioned by a genetic research group in Italy called Human Design to translate a sequence of music pertaining to Ludwig Van Beethoven. The sequence was derived by applying a formula created by Nicholas Caposiena that combines Beethoven's, I Ching chart and Human Design System™ into a DNA sequence that can then be translated into music.

I then blended this genetic signature with his mtDNA (ancestral) data derived from DNA tests carried out on a locket of hair taken at the moment of Beethoven's death. These results placed Beethoven amongst a small population of people living around the area of Bonn at the end of the 18th Century.

In combination, all these elements of sequence closely define Beethoven's genetic make-up and when translated into music, a process of matching the Amino Acids to their resonant pitch value based on salt, walter, acid content and molecular weight, one can absorb a DNA music that is as closely related to the beloved composer as technology can currently allow us to achieve.

Obtaining the sequence was not even near the hardest part of it all, it was the pressure upon myself as a composer to define this melody into an arrangement that would reflect the great man's character and genius was a little too much to bare. But after a great deal of thought and a little inspiration, I figured the best approach was to let the music speak for itself, use Ludwig's favorite instruments and Key and do my best to produce a piece that could touch the hearts of people from the great man himself. I did feel a great honor and humility working as an arranger to this special sequence and hope that I have done little enough, to allow Beethoven to speak through the music himself. We added a text to the music taken from poems to his ‘Immortal Beloved' to be sung by a tenor in German with Piano and Viola accompaniment.

I named the work ‘Ludwig's Last Song' and premiered the work at the Edinburgh International Festival 2010 for the first time with my colleagues Martin Aelred (Tenor) and Feargus Heatherington (Viola) to a wonderful reception at St John's Church.

Listen to:

Watch a live performance:

Help support Stuart Mitchell in his endeavors by purchasing your very own copy of his DNA translation of
'Ludwig's Last Song'

It makes you wonder, if the music in our DNA is resonating these composer's as they live out their lives, composing melody after melody. Never seeming to be ever out of inspiration, taking music from a subconscious DNA level to the highest spiritual levels and resonating forever their combined music out into the cosmos.

Perhaps DNA needs to find a way to sing to the Earth and stars and Humans may bring a spiritual aspect to the ‘bio-song' that raises it to heights of eternity.

With huge acknowledgment to the advancements and pioneers in science and technology, we can now resonate with the DNA signatures of some of the greatest minds and hearts that ever walked our mother Earth, opening a world of sound, spirit and art, that ultimately brings us closer to all that is.

Content courtesy of Stuart Mitchell
Copyright (c) 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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