Periodic Table of Elements in Sound


Many moons ago I decided to translate Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Elements into music. I based the elements’ notes on their atomic weights, with Hydrogen calibrated to 440Hz, and all other elements’ frequencies relative to Hydrogen. Because many of the atomic weights would place some elements way out of the human hearing range; also to preserve the intervallic relationships between the note and Hydrogen tonic, frequencies above 880Hz were systematically halved until they ended up within the 440-880 octave range.

This turned out to be pretty exciting, as the more common elements related closely to the more prevalent western intervals. For example, Hydrogen and Carbon make the interval of a perfect 5th (3:2). And once brought down within range, Oxygen approximates the octave at 2:1.

In practice, I found use for the Oxygen and Hydrogen related samples at the end of the song Sanctuary from the Romance of the Spaceways album.