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  • Help creating a musical analogy to flavor

    I am a flavor chemist. Trying to describe flavor and the interactions of various flavor compounds can be difficult for many to understand. I often make an analogy to music and people seem to understand it much better.

    I would like to have some samples that I can actually play to further drive home the analogy, but do not have the tools or musical ability to pull this off. So I am here to ask someone (or multiple someones) to help me out.

    What I would like is some well known orchestral piece (such as Bolero, Beth. 5th, 1812 overture, etc.--am open to suggestions on exact piece) and have it played in different ways to illustrate different ideas of flavor chemistry. For example, play the full piece and then play the same piece with a section muted (e.g. oboe).

    The analogy is that many flavors are actually the combination of multiple (sometimes hundreds) of specific chemicals each with their own aroma and if some of these are missing, one can definitely still identify the product, it isn't quite right. The music piece would still be totally recongizable, but wouldn't be quite right.

    Some other examples are often you will have a flavor compound in very low levels that by itself smells totally different than the final product and one wouldn't associate with it at all, but without it, it just isn't quite right. For example, some compounds have a cut grass aroma which seems to many to not be associated with something like orange, but it is there and needed for a complete orange aroma. Plus the idea of an orchestra in general is a nice analogy since it isn't any one instrument or chemical that is important--but the combination of all of them together. There are many analogies one could make. If the levels of flavor compounds are not in the right balance it is very noticable, much like if you tripled the size of one section of the orchestra and cut another in 1/2.

    I found this forum and I think the people here have the tools and expertise to help me and hoping someone is intrigued enough to tackle the problem.


  • This butthead here will be refraining from posting until he sobers up.   Apologies.


  • Ditto..


  • last edited
    last edited

    @Another User said:

    First post, not a VSL user and not likely to be.
    Not a user, and never will be. Not because it isn't a good product, it looks quite good, but because I lack the musical skills needed. I posted here hoping to find a VSL user who could use VSL to produce audio clips to help me explain some aspects of flavor chemistry to non-flavor chemists.

  • Welcome Kevin,

    addmittedly an unusual approach to music you have - but there are many people with synesthesic (cross-sensory) abilities in this world, so may very well have the luck to find one here!

    All the best,


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • This sounds  interesting and is a perfect thing for samples, as you can change the timbres almost instantly on a given piece.  It would be a clever way of promoting the flavors and certainly a challenge to an orchestrator.  I remember Cecil Forsyth compared the sound of a celesta to a ripe plum.


  • Exactly. And there are so many things you could illustrate(is that the right word if dealing with sound?) many aspects of flavor science. This is because both are a combination of many individual pieces that all have to work together exactly to get the desired affect.

  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on