the music of spiders.


spider music

The humble spider has always been well represented in the musical world, from Ziggy Stardust to the Who and Wilco. For too long, though, we’ve refused to let them relate their experiences to us more directly. That’s now changed, thanks to the work of scientists who are turning spiders’ vibration-based perceptions into music.

Vice recently profiled the work of MIT engineering professor Markus Buehler, who leads a team that’s working to translate web vibrations into sounds we can actually hear. The project uses “the physics of spiderwebs to assign audible tones to a given string’s unique tension and vibration” through a process called data sonification.

The resulting models can be explored through virtual reality software or listened to via examples recorded by Buehler and his collaborator Tomas Saraceno. The music created by manipulating the models is incredible—an eerie approximation of how spiders understand their environments.

Buehler says that the project’s goal is both to “expand how we generate sound in music and how we compose music” and to practically demonstrate how “for something like a spider, there’s a whole different way of experiencing the world.”

“Researchers say the project could eventually be used to reverse engineer spiders’ reality and communicate with the arachnids,” Vice explains, somewhat ominously. Buehler elaborates, saying that he’s planning to play AI-generated spider sounds to the creatures and “gauge [their] reactions.”

For more on Markus Buehler And The Spiders From Earth, read the full article.


“is there anything more beautiful and protective than the simple complexity of a spider’s web?”

-e.b. white, Charlotte’s Web




source credits: Reid McCarter, Michelle Bender, Vice

68 responses »

  1. And I though it was a ‘bug’ in my keyboard making those perculiar noises … but no … It’s a spider playing Mozart on a minute piano inside my computer … wow Beth .. this is both a relief and a musical breakthrough …

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Very interesting. It seems that I have read of this before. Either way, I can’t imagine why there would not be music created within the web. They are a form of threads, strings taught enough when moved, make sound, why should a web not? In my head I am seeing the scene from Close Encounters where the tones are played in communication. I think communicating with spiders is not impossible nor improbable.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is right up my alley, Beth! I am going to reblog it to (I almost wrote “Nature-web.”) Also, no one has commented that the scientist has the unfortunate last name of “Buehler” as in “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.” This Buehler was busy playing with spiders.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: the music of spiders. – Karen O'Brien Country Music

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