Atrial Fibrillation Orchestration Challenge

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October 6, 2021

This post is a part of the ECG Sonification Trilogy. Here you can find sonifications produced by a couple of musicians exploring the idea that the cardiovascular rhythm is only superficially different from the musical rhythm. It’s not that hard to imagine a song, or at least a fragmentary composition, following the heart as if it was conducting a performance.

With that idea, I took it to a couple of independent music producers. I asked them to try and find a way of building music onto a rhythm sample acquired from a heart in a state of Atrial Fibrillation - a severe symptom of an unhealthy heart.

The only requirement was to keep the rhythmic structure intact. Style, tempo, duration, instrumentation were all left as aesthetic choices for the musicians. Below you can find the results, together with short artists’ descriptions of their work and social media links.

Artem Nurgaliev

I was given a slightly chaotic rhythm. I tried to put a melody on this rhythm. To make it sound more musical, I added pad accompaniment and some percussion.

Arthur Macbeth

With this music I tried to synchronise with the heart in the most natural way, to find beauty in the arrhythmic rhythm. I used rubato tempo to keep the rhythm consistent in its irregularities.


Working on this project was one of the most unique opportunities I have had as a music producer. Working with such an irregular rhythm was initially challenging, but the process gave me a chance to stretch myself creatively which was ultimately rewarding.


This job was a really fun challenge for me, music bases on stability, consistency and pulse, so it was hard to achieve at first, I tried to play with different metrics and pulses, but keeping a logic melody and progression so it had a something that glued it all. I think it came out really well :)



My idea going into this project was to first get the heartbeat rhythm in there and to figure out how to make it the main focus of the piece. I had the heartbeat rhythm played by the kick drum and a keys synth, and I just let the rest of the instruments (pads, synths, bells etc.) flow around that rhythm.