Music of the Plants

By Wendy Rees

Music of the Plants

By Wendy Rees
Alumna Yvette Soler, better known as Tigrilla Gardenia, connects her music engineering background with plants to create the 'perfect musical instrument.'

Humans can hear nature sing, thanks to Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, technology, which converts the vibrations of plants into sound waves.

When alumna Yvette Soler, who studied engineering and technology at the Frost School of Music and goes by the name Tigrilla Gardenia, first heard the electrical impulses in plants transformed into sound, she realized she was not listening to random notes.

“Instead," she said, "I was hearing a sophisticated composition created by an intelligent being.”
 
Now a citizen of the spiritual eco-community of Damanhur in Italy, Gardenia compared that first listening session to her time at Frost, where she attended experimental jazz concerts with non-traditional instruments.

“Music transcends scales and structure. It becomes its own language,” she said.
 
Gardenia first heard the language of plants in Damanhur, where researchers in the field of plant perception created Music of the Plants (MotP), a new technology that uses a MIDI interface and synthesizer to translate the electromagnetic variations from the leaves to the roots of a plant into sound, enabling plants and trees to “play” music.
 
“Once upon a time, all food was organic and nature was an integral part of our lives,” Gardenia said. “But somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to communicate with trees and plants.”
 
While holding several professional titles, Gardenia is more than a professional plant music researcher, biomimicry facilitator, and communications consultant; she specializes in the relationship between humans and plants, and the effects plant music has on human health.
 
Her cutting-edge research into plant neurobiology and cognition provides a glimpse into the audible world of interspecies musicians. She collaborates with universities and institutions around the globe, speaking on the healing effects of plant music in homes, hospitals, and the workplace. She regularly listens to music composed by plant musicians and offers plant music healing sessions.
 
“The melody and harmony of plants are created by interacting with a variety of stimuli, artists, and observers in diverse environments,” she said. “Understanding the plant mind allows us to experience the complexity of the world that exists beyond our five senses.”
 
Gardenia, who is grateful for the opportunities she had at Frost, credits the faculty for encouraging her to stay curious.
 
“My journey has led me from a multiethnic upbringing to the high-tech industry, performing arts, spiritual studies, and the eco-everything world of social innovation and architectural design. Along the way, I learned to look to the many amazing beings in nature for answers.”