An Underwater Composition by Aquatic Turtles

I learned that aquatic turtles can hear low frequencies and sense vibrations, with the water acting as a conduit to help them hear slightly better than turtles that live on land. I also learned that pet turtles recognize their owners through sight and sound, and that is when I decided I would start playing music for them. I figured that I should try to make them used to these sounds because of how often I play music in my room. I play genres of all kinds, but it has become clear that they respond especially well to contemporary jazz music and will either look extremely relaxed, or swim over to the side of the tank that is closest to my speakers. Assuming that they would associate the music I play with their visual recognition of my face, I decided to allow them to control the music I play by translating their movement into sound without interfering with them, or creating any sort of discomfort.

I put a waterproof contact microphone in their tank to pick up each vibration and movement they made in close proximity to the mic, and send that information to the computer softwares Ableton and Max/MSP. I selected from a large variety of instruments and chose the mic's sensitivity, and they were able to compose the rest. select a sound and watch them compose the rest.

I like to think of their final composition in the same way I do for much of the music I listen to and appreciate on a daily basis, and give them credit as if they were actual musicians composing and performing an original piece. There is no way for me to know whether or not they realized that their movements were triggering each sound that they heard, but the footage I captured is indicative of their curiosity when they sense musical vibrations.