Cultured Meat: The Way of the Future Group
Creator’s name: Calvin Rice
Shorecrest High School, Washington
Teacher’s Name: David Svrcek
Calvin Rice: “My composition, which was created via software instruments, aims to express the growth of cultivated meat through music.
Throughout the composition there are many references to my project, with the overarching goal being to produce not only a piece of music that my audience will enjoy, but also something that will connect to my topic.
My inspiration for this piece came mainly from the minimalist genre of classical music, but also from the more traditional classical composer Ravel. These composers paved a new way of creating music that was unique to all others before it. That is the main reason why they inspire me. This song is meant to represent the journey that the cultured meat takes until it is fully grown.
The beginning of my composition starts with a single note played very slowly. This note happens to be a “C”, which is thought to be the cleanest and most neutral key by many classical musicians. This helps convey the idea that this piece will be about “clean” meat. Also, the note represents the tissue sample that is taken from the animal. This is because the tissue sample is the very first step in the process of making cultured meat, and so the pedal point is the first thing you hear in the song.
I played the note very slowly to show that the meat is, at this point, small and insignificant. Towards the end of the piece, however, the pedal point will become much faster to convey that the meat is now much bigger. After the pedal point starts the piece, the low piano chords come in. These chords convey a sense of power to the listener by making them fluctuate between minor and major, and by playing them in a low octave. These chords represent a certain type of stem cell called the satellite cell. This is because the satellite cells mainly differentiate into muscle cells, and muscles are generally referred to as being powerful.
After these chords finish their sequence, they are played again, but this time doubled by strings. These strings rise and fall, showing that the meat is slowly growing bigger. At the same time as the strings, the electric guitar comes in, representing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). The electric guitar plays a series of chromatic notes at a faster speed then the other sounds around it. This represents the iPSCs differentiating into multiple different types of cells.
Like the pedal point, the electric guitar motive will get faster to represent the growth of cultured meat. Although the meat is growing throughout the entire piece, the next section of this piece is the part where the meat grows the most. I made this section increasingly get louder by adding different sounds at regular intervals. This conveyed the effect of growing. The section starts off with the melody of the composition played over the piano and electric guitar. The melody is played by chimes and is representative of all stem cells. This is because stem cells are the key element in making cultured meat, and the melody is the key element in a piece.
In the next part of the section, more sounds are added. These sounds are either in interesting meters, or they have an odd rhythm. This adds to the effect of growing by adding more tension to each measure. Also, these sounds are rather electronic sounding just as cultured meat is very technological.
Near the end of the song, the growing completely stops. In this next section, only the pedal point and the chimes carry over. Also, there is a new sound added that represents the fat cells: the marimba. This new section creates texture in the song. Since the marimba is the main part of this next section, and by adding fat to the cultured meat it creates more texture, it is an ideal move to make the marimba representative of the fat cells.
In the final two sections of the piece, the two main sections are joined. This represents the fat cells binding with the meat because the marimba is added to the growing soundscape. The marimba then shows growing by slowly arpeggiating down for several measures, and then arpeggiating up to make even more tension. The final section represents that the meat is finally grown. I show this by merging the melody and the chords together with heavy strings. I added extra bass to the strings to really bring home the point that the song is done.
Over the course of making this project, I learned many things about cultured meat. I also learned that science can also be artistic if looked at through the right lens. I am glad that I could convey this interesting topic through what I enjoy doing most: music.”