Creating with Microbes Budding Discovery Ashley Hope Carlisle, Harvey Hix and Naomi Ward Each movement of Carnival of the Microbes uses a defining characteristic of a particular tiny creature to create a musical rule. In Verrucomicrobial ectosymbiont, a small bacterium riding on the outside of a larger microbe functions as a weapon-like defense system, shooting out a harpoon fifteen times its length to destroy predators. Musically, this is a long, ascending line ending with a violent-sounding percussion instrument, “the lion’s roar,” which, microbially speaking at least, punctuates the enemy organism and literally spills its guts. In the second movement, Noctiluca scintillans, the organisms eat diatoms (microscopic sea creatures) and photosynthesize to glow in the dark.They are beautiful and sparkly,especially when stirred up. In my musical interpretation, the sparkles are made by metallic percussion instruments that are more active the more “stirred up” the music. The unusual division method of Corynebacterium glutamicum, a microbe commonly found in soil, is the inspiration for the third movement. It grows in small clusters and instead of dividing in half when ready, these microbes snap off—scientists have even made recordings of the snapping sounds and videos of the vibrations. So in my musical interpretation, the strings use a technique called tremolo, which is a series of quick back and forth bow strokes. Various member of the ensemble “snap pizzicato” and make percussive snapping noises. Epulopiscium fishelonii is inspired by the huge shape and size of the microbe, as well as its method of reproduction. This microbe is large enough to see with the human eye—and shaped like a long cigar. I traced the shape on a piano keyboard—up on white keys, down on black—to create the main theme. These microbes have an unusual method of reproduction in that they fill themselves with miniature versions, open up, and birth them. In between full keyboard runs (the mothership themes) you will hear the birth of Carnival of the Microbes (2016) diminutive miniature themes across the orchestra. Written for Thomas A. Blomster and the Colorado Chamber Orchestra. Special thanks to Dr. Naomi Ward, microbiologist, and Dr. Harvey Hix, poet, for their research and careful explanations. Planctomyces bekefii was first observed in Budapest, Hungary in a pond and was thought to be a fungus. They reproduce by budding and resemble the outreaching seed plumes of a common dandelion. How do you take inspiration and recreate something so incredibly complex and beautiful in its own right? What would this bacteria feel like to the human’s sense of touch? Would it be soft? Would it be hard and slick? I wanted to show a visually interesting image while speaking of its unique traits that distinguish this bacteria from others. In budding, a new organism is created from cell division and remains in one place until it matures and releases.This new creation is identical to its parent. Working on this piece in the studio, I struggled to create as interesting a form as the original images I was provided by Naomi and Harvey.I placed the piece on the wall to dry, and at that moment I noticed the shadows it created by the light hitting what I had made. Sometimes the answer is given versus made. Jutting stalks complete the soft and spiky form that can only hope to bring attention to the original inspiration. Carnival of the Microbes Anne M. Guzzo, Harvey Hix & Naomi Ward Poplar, CD Player, Headphones, Aged Pine, Music Stand, Paper 2016 Budding Discovery Ashley Hope Carlisle, Harvey Hix & Naomi Ward Mixed Media 2016 Anne M. Guzzo