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Codebreaker

Listening to wood

Marc Sanchez Jan 23, 2012

It’s fun to count the rings on a cross section of a tree stump and try to figure out its age. When German-born artist, Bartholomäus Traubeck, looks at that timeline, he sees music. The rings reminded him of grooves in a vinyl record, so he figured out a way to translate the grooves into piano. Traubeck dreamed up a turntable that actually plays pieces of wood. Listen/watch the video, and you’ll hear a pretty dramatic score based on how thick the rings are (thick = deep, bass notes; light = high notes). CNET reports, “One wonders whether different families of trees produce varying kinds of music. For example, does a willow generate more soulful ballads? Or would Mozart come from an old growth redwood? Poplars grow fast, so could they be used for upbeat tunes?”

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