This experiment translates the information found in the rings of tree trunks into sound.
Extracting sound from tree trunks /
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
In 1955, John Cage gave it a try with 4’33’’ --four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence-- one of his most famous pieces, and one which at the time proved to be controversial. In 2011, Bartholomäus Traubeck, followed Cage down this very same path of sound exploration, and adapted a record player so that he could be able to listen to the sounds made by trees. The result, Years, is an elegant and mysterious melody, these characteristic rings, by the way, are also intrinsic to a tree.
Using slices of tree trunks, the record player absorbs the data of the rings by using a “PlayStation Eye Camera” and an engine, both connected to the arm of a “pickup”. The information is translated by the Ableton Live software, and in this way each piece acquires its own sonorous seal.
The years (rings) of the tree are analyzed using their resistance, width and growth rate. This information is the foundation for a generative process that produces piano music. A scale is assigned, again according to the general aspect of the wood (from dark to light and from strong textures to soft ones).
This is an experiment that creates nostalgic and meditative sounds, similar to those we can experience by hugging a tree. It reminds us of the peace we feel when there are roots that allow one to stretch out to the sky. Herman Hesse used to say: “The three doesn’t die, it waits”.
Tagged: Bartholomäus Traubeck, trees, music, nature Credits: Image (traubeck.com/years)