Coping: Futuring with Music of the Markets

Since I was on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory overnight, I decided (while waiting for the clock to roll around to air time) to update a bit of research I did in 2006 when I set off on a quest to see what the “music of the stock market” would sound like.

The approach was simple…and anyone can replicate the results.  Here’s how you go about “extracting music from markets.”

1.  You begin with the data sets you want to listen to.  In today’s market, I have chosen to “mix” three markets.  I use the S&P 500 assigned to a grand piano in a later step, the NASDAQ CBOE Volatility Index, assigned to the Japanese flute (shakuhachi) , and the Dow, assigned to the French Horn.

2,  Each of these data sets is converted into something which would be audible.  Obviously, with the Dow north of 16,000,  a 16 KHz sound isn’t going to help in market visualization, but it might offend the dog.  So you normalize the data into human sound range.  Dividing the Dow by 32, for example will put it into the area of 500 Hertz.

Do this with all three data sets.

3.  Next, the data sets are converted into .prn files.  This is supposed to be a single-step out of Excel, but I couldn’t get my research synthesized program (Amugen 3) to accept the Excel files.  So they were loaded into a word processor.

4.  In the word processor, you need to remove all the carriage return/line feeds so a search and replace (replace ^p with ^s) which will put in simple spaces, and that will give you a large paragraph of numbers.

5.  If you’re using Amugen, you will need to assign a domain to the data that you’ve imported.  You can assign the numbers as notes, durations, speed (tempo) or time (how long the note is held).

When you’re done, you export the resulting .midi file and then convert to .MP3.

Here’s what the last 148 trading days of the market sounds like:

(.MP3 file #1)

If you have a good ear for melodies, you may find something reminiscent or somehow similar in a market music construction I did in summer 2006.  In this one,; the Dow is assigned the grand piano, the S&P 500 is assigned harmonica, and I used the NASDAQ-100 Composite Index as the French horns.  this is what that one sounds like…

(.MP3 file #2)

The point that I’m making in sharing these files with you is that while most stock market analysis is done using charts or purely mathematical approaches, there may be hidden levels of “reality” where there’s a kind of cosmic “music” being played.

In either of these two cases, the research objective was (and is in the case of the first sample file) to use a different part of our brains to “guess what the next note will be.”  The markets, of course, will actually play the notes when they open for business Thursday morning. 

But in the meantime, it’s a fine mental exercise to open your head up to other ways of considering the future.  In a very musical sense, the future is the next note to be played.

Oh, and as the old joke around the studio went:  Try not to B-flat.