Solar Flow is a visual music animation which builds on NASA's spectacular footage from the Solar Dynamics Observatory of the great solar flare of June 7, 2011. The piece employs particle systems in both the visual design and as a compositional technique in the accompanying music.
The music is scored for string orchestra, three harps, timpani and percussion. A unique application of the particle system concept to traditional motivic composition was employed in its creation. In essence, each individual string instrument becomes a motivic "particle" which has a unique lifetime and musical trajectory. The composition is the result of the aggregate effect of these dozens of particles.
The visuals are synthesized from the classic particle system in Apple's Quartz Composer software. The principal determinants of visual intensity, namely particle density, brightness, and lifetime, were created from the same data which created the musical particles heard simultaneously. The output of these various particle systems are further processed through symmetrical reflection. NASA's spectacular high-definition footage of the solar eruption of June 7, 2011 also appears at several times.
The version offered for presentation at TES 2012 was synthesized using state-of-the-art samples and physical modelling techniques, and has been specially recorded in 16-channel octaphonic sound for presentation in NAISA's unique audio-visual environment. The image was rendered from Quartz Composer in full High Definition using the author's custom software.
This version is revision 2.32, Nov. 2012