Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ferdinando De Sena

Second Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey

Third Committee Member

Raul F. Murciano

Fourth Committee Member

Colby Leider


Hawking Sonified is a piece composed in homage to the great cosmologist and theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking. The piece is a four movement work that musically illuminates four selected lectures given by Professor Hawking in his own, uniquely synthesized voice. The compositional approaches are indicative of the Pattern/Pulse school of minimalistic composition. Palsplit 2 and Palsplit 4, the software environments used to compose the piece were created by Lawrence Moore using the Pure Data computer music programming language. The software modules contained achieve the musical effects through looping recorded lecture examples at various intervals and processing the audio through band pass filters and amplitude envelopes that generate pulsing effects. These processes combined with spatial manipulation within an octophonic speaker system create a musical realization of the topics discussed in the selected lectures. The selected lectures cover the physical phenomena of entropy, the event horizon of black holes, expansion of the universe in imaginary time, and the expansion of the universe in real time.


Stephen Hawking; Pattern Pulse Minimalism; Steve Reich; Paul Lansk; Trevor Wishart