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vintage diagram of tree rings

The Songs of Trees

Cherry Burl NurseTree by Maureen Shaughnessy

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  Maybe this classic philosophical question has finally been answered, in a magical, musical way.

Bartholomäus Traubeck, a composer from Vienna, Austria, has figured out how to translate tree rings into something akin to music. Traubeck uses technology to create music from the ring data on slices of seven different tree species. Listen to this piano piece by an Alder Tree

vintage diagram of tree rings

Here’s a description of the process on Traubeck’s BandCamp profile:

A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). 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.

For the entire album of the songs/voices of seven different trees, check it out here.  And HERE is a video showing the gizmo. 

Fraxinus (Ash) Tree

And just for the heck of it, here is one other of my favorite Tree Songs from the same album, the music of an Ash (Fraxinus) Tree