In my opinion, some of the most interesting and creative things happen in the intersections between fields of interest. My fate is being both experimental chemist and experimental musician/percussionist, maybe a less-that-obvious combination to look for intersections, but none the more a good reason to construct one. I'm not talking about the more obvious connections between music and chemistry/food/taste/smell (see below), but intersections where chemistry/food/... has a direct impact on the creation or (in my case) performance, of music.
Playing in a improvisation-based jazz trio (just start playing, no songs, arrangements or agreements), I'm constantly looking for things that could trigger new musical ideas. Visual triggers are relatively common (Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Kari Bremnes and Edvard Munch), but what about scent or taste? What kind of improvised music would result from the scent of rotten eggs, roasted meat, cinnamon etc.? And next: what if the scent was created on-the-go carrying out the chemical reactions while playing? This tastes of futurism, doesn't it? Another idea could be to feed digital data from chemical measurements and analyses into a music computer program using some sort of conversion from chemical data to pitch, rhythm, tempo, dynamics and so forth.
Master chef Pierre Gagnaire has some fascinating thoughts about similarities between music, improvisation and gastronomy, among them:
"[...]I imagine a flavour like a melody, then explore new ground with anxiety but determination to shape an ephemeral jewel from the magical treasures of discovery[...]" - beautiful, and such a striking description of my experiences from freely improvised music as well!
Also, a possibly interesting compilation of scientists/musicians/composers is the New Trier High School Mixing Art/Music and/or Science and Math page
A few more obvious (and thus less interesting?) connections between music and food, molecular gastronomy, chemistry:
- music to accompany food (background music in restaurants). This could be interesting if the music actively comments the food (or vice versa), or even better, if they affect each other.
- musicians/composers that are/were chemists; i.e. A. Borodin)
- chemistry in making instruments; materials, lacquer/varnish etc. (less interesting, maybe, because it's too far a reach for me...)
The search goes on, at a slow pace however, as this is a long term project.