What happens when you place tree slices on a record player? You get music at the tempo of nature. Beautiful music conducted by the ups and downs life.
Slices from these ash and a fir trees placed on a modified record player make for a relaxing soundtrack that we think would be ideal for a winter yoga practice or meditation session.
Each tree ring is a new tone, while the distance between rings dictates a song’s speed and number or length of pauses. The loveliest sort of discord we hear in each track is bookended by lively intervals and sometimes dramatic rests.
Bartholomäus Traubeck programmed the record player we see in this video to generate sound “using data from the wood as its source for rhythm and notation.” The player analyzes the year rings for strength, thickness, and growth rate, and then outputs piano music based on the data. Even the wood’s appearance (color and texture) affects the sounds generated by the record player.
“The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently,” Traubeck explains.
Although he admits the music we hear isn’t precise sonification of the data stored in the wood, we think the tree ring songs sound very organic and lovely.
Hear for yourself.
You can download the whole digital album (which includes tracks from Spruce, Beech, Oak, Maple, Alder, and Walnut tree slices also) from Bartholomäus Traubeck’s website: traubeck.bandcamp.com/album/years