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TREES SING?

28.11.2014

Mamma nature and existing man-made objects have been used to make music for centuries. From water droplets, to saws, to bottle caps, to pieces of dried kelp and now, apparently, slices of tree!

Bartholomäus Traubeck probably over-played his Beatles collection and decided he needed something fresh to slap on the decks. Whatever the reason, he is pretty much a genius. The video below is an excerpt from his record, Years – an appropriate title as it features seven recordings from different Austrian trees (yes, trees): Ash, Oak, Maple, Walnut, Alder, Spruce and Beech.

Not to get all earthy on ya but rings of a tree tell a pretty remarkable story – they tell its age and the various environmental conditions it’s lived in and fought against. The rings of these tree-records are being translated into music by playing them on a turn table. What you are hearing in the excerpt is (apparently) an Ash tree’s year ring data, its own unique story.

Instead of using a needle, Traubeck’s record player uses sensors to gather the wood’s timeline. “A PlayStation Eye Camera with a stepper motor attached to its control arm, relays the data to a computer with a programme called Ableton Live. What you end up with is an incredible piano track, and in the case of the Ash, a very eerie one.”

So many musical instruments are made out of wood, but now it seems that trees themselves are getting a chance to sing their own song and express their story in a way that maybe humans can better understand. It lets us imagine what else in nature we probably should and could be listening to more carefully. Either way it’s hauntingly beautiful.

© Image by Bartholomäus Traubeck

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