ArtLab ‘Making music out of brainwaves’ at Cameo Gallery

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This musical performance will be tripping the light fantastic.

A neuroscience professor who is also a composer will combine both specialities at Cameo Gallery on March 11, with a project that turns brainwaves into music.

“I like making fun of science and music and with this, I get to do both,” said Columbia University professor David Sulzer. “I also feel like people should know more about their brains and bodies.”

In the latest installment of art and science event series ArtLab, Sulzer and his partner Brad Garton will hook singer and multi-instrumentalist Lora Faye and jazz drummer William Hooker up to a machine that will measure their electroencephalo (EEG) waves.

“William is an improvisor, so my guess is that he will find a way to work with the machine very rapidly,” said Sulzer. “Instead of doing it through your throat or fingertips, you are doing it directly from the brain.”

The player can manipulate his or her waves via motion and changing their sensory perception.

“You really can’t think about someone you love and make a different brainwave,” said Sulzer. “But you can change your alpha waves if you close your eyes and stop getting the variety you would from your vision.”

Since EEG waves are too low for the human ear to ear, Sulzer must translate them. Sulzer said he can convert the waves into whatever kind of sound he wants. For example, he could choose to speed all the waves up so that they are audible, or multiply them to create different tones.

“It’s only interesting for us if we do it differently every time,” said Sulzer, who also goes by the stage name David Soldier. “Otherwise we would get bored to tears.”

“Making Music Out of Brainwaves” at Cameo Gallery [93 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 302–1180, March 11 at 8 pm. $5.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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