Chief Investigator

Carey, Melissa

School or Research Centre

School of Arts and Social Sciences

Lead Partner Organisation

Southern Cross University


Dr Melissa Carey, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore NSW 2480, Australia.


graphic synthesis, digital composition, musical composition, graphic design.


The seventh sound track in a series of sound files produced as part of PhD thesis, titled 'Intermedia Frottage: visual representation of music & aural representation of image'.

The visual spectacles of the auroras borealis and australis are well known, but there is also a sonic element to these displays, in the form of ultra low frequency electromagnetic waves. Through the use of radio receivers, aurora listeners have identified characteristic sounds, such as hissy whistlers, howlers and chorus effects.

Component sounds in Metaurora have been created from photographic images of auroras during a particularly intense geomagnetic storm. The original scorebook was made with the images used for sound creation, layered with spectrographic images of the sounds created. These were arranged in correlatory order with the sound composition, but without definite cues for the start or end of each page. is simulated in the movie by the slow crossfading from one page image to the next.

The bell-like tones, created through spectral distillation of piano sounds, are added as a frottage enhancement, evocative of the vast expanses of the night sky.

The sound files are in a compressed format, and the full fidelity audio CD is available for loan with the exegesis from Southern Cross University Library (or from the creator). Similarly, the imagery is not available on the website collection, but a DVD or imagery is also available for loan with the exegesis from Southern Cross University Library (or from the creator).

Data Collection Start Date


Data Collection End Date



With the use of graphic synthesis software, the composer can draw sounds directly on the sound canvas. This means that sounds can be written to as well as read from the image. The image takes on the role of a graphic score, from which multiple readings, or interpretations are possible.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

FoR Code

1904; 1905

Data Processing

Processing and analysis through Metasynth (U&I Software); Corel Photo-Paint; Spectrogram (Visualization Software LLC); Phonogramme (V. Lesbros)