Music Shorts

World Heart Day 2020: #UseHeart to learn about arrhythmias through music

29 September 2020 is World Heart Day. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death on the planet. 17.9M people die each year from heart disease; 1 in 10 aged 30-70 die from heart disease; 31% of all deaths are due to cardiovascular disease. In the time of COVID-19, heart patients are at greater risk of developing severe responses to the virus. They may also be afraid to seek ongoing care.

As part of the ERC project COSMOS, we are finding connections between heart rhythms and music. We have been studying cardiac response to music, and are starting a proof of concept project HEART.FM, which aims to relieve hypertension and promote cardiovascular health through music. Read more about this on Der Spiegel, CNRS INS2I news, and IRCAM Research news.

To raise awareness of heart rhythm disorders, we share a remake of the Little Etudes for piano based on cardiac electrical anomalies. The remake incorporates descriptions of each heart rhythm disorder by project collaborator Professor Pier Lambiase, cardiologist at the Barts Heart Centre / University College London, and co-Director of Cardiovascular Research at Barts NHS Trust.

Little Etudes by Elaine Chew is a series of short piano pieces based on cardiac electrical anomalies. Here, each cardiac aberration is introduced by Pier Lambiase, Professor of Cardiology at Barts Heart Centre. If you like this, see also our other arrhythmia pieces.

Want to play the Etudes? Download scores at .

I.Atrial Fibrillation1:16
II.Bigeminy Sea-snatch (Ventricular Bigeminy)2:50
III.Atrial Flutter3:24
IV.The Girl with the Labile T Waves4:19
V.Per Torsade (Torsade de Pointes)5:24
VI.A La Bru Rondo Turk (Ventricular Ectopics)6:09
VII.Wenckebach Lullaby (Wenckebach Block)7:04
Little Etudes for Piano

The Little Etudes by Elaine Chew were originally released singly, one per day, for World Heart Rhythm Week, 1-7 June 2020, organised by the Arrhythmia Alliance. This rendition of all seven etudes includes introductions to each cardiac electrical aberration by cardiologist Professor Pier Lambiase.

This video was created originally for the Ars Electronica ’20 Ircam AIxMusic Garden on 11 September 2020. Following the festival, we have shared the video on the COSMOS YouTube channel. The music in this video was recorded and re-performed on the Bösendorfer VC280 Enspire PRO by sound engineer Daniel Bedoya.