Musical Mapping Ergot and Protein

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

BY WILL AUSTIN

The painting contains a graph of % ergot ordered from average highest to lowest in both dimensions (cultivar vs. location), and a graph of % protein following the same order of cultivars and locations. The song which it accompanies is in the key of E minor, with fourteen 15-note melodies each divided by a full note rest. The variable of time is the movement through the 15 ‘cultivars’ (breeds) of rye from the least prone to ergot (fungal disease) to the most prone, repeating in structure through all of the studied locations from least prone to ergot to most (14 locations). The notes are determined by the relative percentage of protein divided through three octaves of E minor. Each registered breed is given a half note sustain, and each non-registered breed is given a quarter note. There is a bass drone under each 15-note melody which is the average for the current location across all breeds, dropped two octaves. It is meant to function generally as a graph of the correlation between ergot incidence (increasing as time) versus protein percentage (of grain).