An artist by the name of Bartholomäus Traubeck has created a unique piece of musical art using a turntable, PlayStation Eye Camera, a stepper motor to control the arm, and a computer running Ableton Live to “play” cross-sections of seven different Austrian trees including the oak, maple, walnut, and beech. His piece, Years, is a sound recording of those tree rings that is then translated into a form of musical language.

While the slices of wood do not actually play a melody, the music you hear is created similar to how a LP or long-playing record works. The “needle” reads the the dips and bumps from the tree trunk, as well as its strength, thickness, and rate of growth, which then becomes the basis of the programming that outputs piano music. This is sent to the instrument-synthesizing computer as data which is translated and results in these beautiful piano sounds.

Below is an excerpt from Traubeck’s Years:

Apparently the ash tree plays a rather sharp and haunting tune that brings to mind an old grainy horror film, just when the villain/monster is about to be upon our fair damsel. Although this is not a song to add to your workout mix, this piece is an example of how nature can be represented in different mediums because when compared to other wood cross-sections, each tree produces a unique composition of piano sounds.

I wonder if the principle behind playing a pizza is the same..because in the name of science, I will order a dozen pies to test what melodies we can extract from its yeasty goodness. Let’s start a campaign..

If you enjoyed the melodic sounds of the ash, Traubeck offers the entire album as a downloadable stream here.

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