Sonic Bloom: From Plant to Production

SFCM, TAC, Jess Konye

Using a TAC recording studio SFCM student Jess Konye has created a musical composition of how plant music might sound.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how many notes? With one picture SFCM Technology and Applied Composition student Jess Konye takes us on a journey from plant to music production, all with a special message to share.

By Mark Taylor

If plants could talk, what would they say? What would they sound like? That’s a question Jess Konye is trying to answer, using music and a lot of technology. The second year Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) student at SFCM has created a music track inspired and more accurately created by a plant she calls, ‘Penelope’. “It’s my interpretation of what plant music would sound like,” Konye said.

Konye first took a photo of the plant and then using a TAC digital audio workstation she imported it into a software program called Serum, which created a topographical map for her to use, “This is literally a 3-D representation of Penelope the plant.” 

In order to turn the new 3-D photo into music, Konye created what she called a “Synth Patch”, similar to a preset instagram filter, to help compose the music. “By doing this I am able to use the software program to choose what regions of the photo, like the leaves, are what sounds.”

Using depth and contrast the program virtually mapped out the photo into a wavetable of options that Konye can manipulate to her liking through the software program, “Once you give it a little love, it creates some awesome music.” Konye continued, “This is plant music in real time.” 

The plant is just one of many muses she used for her environmental music project, “It’s not always plants, it can be animals or ecosystems, it’s about nature in general and how we can appreciate it more.” This type of composing is similar to film scoring, game audio, sound design, computer programming, and creative production technique in the TAC program.

In addition to creating music, she is also passionate about raising awareness of climate change and she hopes by creating more music using nature as inspiration, she can bring both her passions together, “Writing about these things in music will hopefully change people’s perception of them,” Konye added, “I hope to be a performing touring artist, play concerts, raising awareness of climate change, and make a difference in the world in that way.” 

Learn more about studying Technology and Applied Composition at SFCM