If Trees Could Sing (VIDEO)

Artist converts a tree’s age rings into piano music.

Does this mean that the official theme music of treehuggers the world over should be piano music? (Photo: Radium Rat via Flickr)
Sal holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

So this happened.

Installation artist Bartholomaus Traubeck has unearthed the code to one of Mother Nature’s closely kept secrets: what does a tree sound like?

His latest piece of art,Years, uses a crazy formula to translate a tree’s age rings into piano music.

His website has more details on how the piece works like a record player:

A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music based on the year ring data. Those are analyzed for their thickness and growth rate and are then mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture).

This piece could be considered a distant cousin of another installment that vocalizes the natural world. Last February, I interviewed sound artist Craig Colorusso, the man behind Sun Boxes, an arrangement of 20 speakers equipped with solar panels that audibilize the sun. “It is a piece that interacts with mother nature,” he said. “All the little details of the environment mingle with the piece really well—clouds, the wind, ambient bird sounds.”

So while the world now knows what a tree sounds like, I for one am still waiting for the day when a tree can speak. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that when that day arrives, a tree’s first words will be: “Please stop chopping us down!

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