James Murphy has composed a “Subway Symphony”—a unique set of notes for each station in NYC’s Metro system that would sound when users swipe their fare cards. “The busier a station becomes, the richer the harmonies would be.”

1 minute read

February 25, 2014, 10:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Musician James Murphy (famous for leading the now defunct band LCD Soundsystem), would like to change the tones that sound when New York City subway riders swipe their fare cards at stations throughout the system, reports Hannah Karp.

Given the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's looming “$900,000-a-year project to improve passenger flow at some stations by repositioning turnstiles, furniture and emergency exits,” now might be the perfect time to implement the project.

According to the article, “[Murphy] has worked out a unique set of notes for every station, one of which would sound each time a passenger swipes his or her MetroCard to catch a train. The busier a station becomes, the richer the harmonies would be. The same notes would also play in a set sequence when the subway arrives at that stop. Each of the city's 468 subway stations would have note sets in different keys.”

More benefits of the proposed plan, according to Murphy: “Unique harmonic sequences could also help cut down on riders missing their stops…while boosting their emotional connections to their neighborhoods.”

Monday, February 24, 2014 in The Wall Street Journal

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