“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?” Jack Handey once famously pondered. (“We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason,” his musing continued.)
But what about if trees could sing? Austrian artist Bartholomaus Traubeck figured out a way to do just that several years ago by designing equipment that translates the year marks in slices of wood into music.
A modified camera gathers information about the tree’s age based on the thickness and spaces between the rings, and that data is then translated into sound – in the form of piano notes.
The first piece he recorded for his album, “Years,” released in the fall of 2014, was translated from a slice of fir tree. It’s simple, he explained, “because (the fir) grows very fast and therefore it has big gaps in between the year rings.”
“Years” also contains music translated from slices of spruce, oak, maple, walnut and other varieties of trees.
While he could have had the trees’ songs translated into guitar or orchestra music, Traubeck said he chose the piano because it “always sounds a little pleasant any way you play it. It’s an instrument that people are really used to – to the sound and the feel that is associated with it.”
Watch the video below to hear the fir tree’s song, and share to spread wonder!