Since 2005, I have been rolled inside an MRI machine numerous times. I don’t particularly mind the procedure: in fact I used to doze off until my sleep apnea related leg movements caused problems. And I greatly benefited from the MRIs which identified on occasion places where my brand of chondrosarcoma has tried to establish new settlements in my body. (And here I must praise the fine doctors, amazing nurses, dedicated technicians, and all staff, from cafeteria cashier and up, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for their professional skills and caring treatment of patients.)
Each time I lay there, my prominent nose a couple of inches from the ‘roof’ of the machine, I listened, with earplugs in, to the fascinating selection of sounds. So intrigued was I that, a couple of times I half-jokingly told the imaging staff that I was going to create a piece of music – a concerto or sonata – for MRI machine and other ‘instruments.’
Tonight, I thought I might dust off the idea so I did a search on the web. Several others have already acted on their response to the intense, repetitive, mesmerising sounds. So far I have found two types of MRI-inspired musical efforts. First, synthesizing/bending of the sounds (http://blog.califaudio.com/2008/06/tj-milian-one-hand-tied-behind-my-back.html.) The other, for example, actually scoring the sounds for instruments (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn_3jYZCfBI) or putting together a multimedia work (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14283203). I will continue the hunt, particularly for MRI sounds. I have yet to track down the Sloan Kettering sounds. But then their character will depend, I assume, on the make of device and the technical settings. (To my amusement, I have found that Siemens has a line of MRI machines with musical brand names such as the Magnetom Symphony!)
Stay tuned – with your earplugs firmly inserted.