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Thematic music played in the bodegas by the research and development department.
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Genoma Music

GENOME MUSIC is a research project born, initially, with the purpose of "bringing music closer to science" and vice-versa. It is the work of Doctor Aurora Sánchez Sousa, head of the Micology Unit of the Ramón y Cajal Hospital, and consists of transforming, transcribing and interpreting into musical notes the genetic sequences of microorganisms, genes responsible for illnesses or human genetic fingerprints, from a sample of their DNA. Her latest work has been the musical transcription of the genetic sequence of "flor" yeasts, responsible for the biological ageing of wines.


DNA, the essential material of life, is like a musical score in which the four basic chemical structures (adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine: ACGT) are progressively linked. These elements organise themselves into triplets with distinct or repeated notes creating amino acids. A GENE is an ordered sequence of amino acids which in turn constitutes a protein, with a determined function in the process of life. This gene will be the score for a musical work of only four notes.

These sequences, both in music and in genetics, show that in both cases we are dealing with meaningfully ordered groups of basic elements which acquire significance on being interpreted. By assigning to each of the four basic chemical structures (ACGT) a different musical note or sound (A=La, C=Do, G=So,T=Re), a system known as "robotic dictation", we obtain a genomic score using the sound of one instrument, or different ones for each letter. Onto this genomic base we apply rhythm, chords and harmonies to suit it, later creating free melodic cells and the creation of the spirit. Sometimes we create a musical composition closely linked to the person or environment which inspired it.


In 2001 Dr. Sánchez Sousaâ??s research was presented to the prestigious Pasteur Institute in Paris and has been widely disseminated in over 50 national and international scientific publications. Notable of these is her article published by the journal "Science", one of the most respected by international researchers.


Dr. Sánchez Sousa has transcribed into music some of the characteristic genes involved in the process of ageing wine:

  • The gene of the enzyme responsible for the first stage of the metabolism of ethanol
  • The gene responsible for the formation of the "veil of flor" on the wineâ??s surface
  • The characteristic gene of the flor yeasts
  • The coded gene of the yeast associated with the metabolism and transport of glycerine

The musical themes created as a result of this scientific exercise have been applied in the bodegas of Grupo Estévez by the research and development department in order to study how these musical compositions affect the flor yeast responsible for the biological ageing of Sherry.

The flor yeasts play a leading role in these wines. Sherry is, in part, the result of a balanced mixture of thousands of components which this microorganism is capable of creating. The survival of these microorganisms and the normal development of their functions are intimately related to environmental conditions; that is to say they depend on a series of physical/chemical factors (temperature, humidity, presence of nutrients etc.) and also biological factors (living together with other microorganisms).


Any process involving living things requires a delicate balance between the actions of their genes and environmental factors. The formation of the veil of flor is affected by temperature, humidity, light, ventilation, alcohol, acidity, the presence of nutrientsâ?¦ not to mention best practice in the bodega. The yeasts which form the veil are extremely sensitive to all these factors, which can have positive as well as negative effects, and the result could be a speeding up, slowing down or even paralysation of their metabolic activities. For the "veil of yeast" to grow in the best way possible and at a regular rhythm all the environmental factors nearby must be rigorously controlled. The application of a sonic stimulus to the yeast is a factor which until now has not been researched, and it is interesting for two reasons; firstly it will contribute to increasing our knowledge of ageing under a veil of flor, and secondly it could lead to the creation of techniques leading to the control of its activity.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that music positively affects living things and it has relaxing as well as beneficial effects, even for the treatment of certain illnesses. Though yeast is only a microorganism, it could also benefit from these sonic stimuli.