Mother Nature's Music

You are familiar with some of Mother Nature's music already. Birds are the best at it, with human music and singing monkeys and other animals trailing behind. But there's natural music produced by non-living phenomena, if we take the time to properly harness and listen to it.

Wind Harps

Aeolian Harps have been around since ancient Greece, and are designed to be played by the wind. The huge harp pictured is in New Mexico, 30 miles North of Albuquerque along I-25.

435_aeolian3s.jpg

The stainless steel Venture Grant Aeolian Harp at the University of South Carolina has ten musical strings ranging up to 8 feet long connected to electronic pickups. Smaller Aeolian harps can be placed in windows or gardens. You can even make your own!

Different ways to make music with nature, after the jump.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ

300stalacpipe2.jpg

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world's largest musical instrument, deep underground in Luray Caverns in Virginia. Rubber-tipped mallets tap the caves natural stalactites and produce musical tones. Stalactites that produce the exact tones needed cover 3.5 acres! Listen to the organ.

The Wave Organ

435_waveorgan.jpg

The Wave Organ, a part of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, is a concrete and granite seaside sculpture that include 25 organ pipes. The pipes are activated by the action of the waves.

The Sea Organ

435_sea_organ4.jpg

The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia also uses the idea of wave-activated organ pipes. The 35 pipes beneath the steps are connected to whistle openings on top. The pipes are tuned to create harmonic chords instead of single notes. See and hear the effect at YouTube.

Solar Organ

435_solarorgan.jpg

Musical tones are not limited to Mother Earth. Our sun has coils of electrified gas that carry acoustic waves. The effect is like plucking a guitar string, sending booms into the cosmos that dissipate within an hour. BLDGBLOG has more, with a link to an audio clip of the suns coronal booms.

Black Hole

435_perseus_xray_3color.jpg

Nature's music comes to us from even further away. A black hole in the Perseus Cluster is emitting sound waves. The tone is B flat, 57 octaves below middle C. What that may mean is anybody's guess.

Update: Commenter Cameron suggested you also check out Ringing Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania, where the natural rocks make a ringing sound when struck by a hammer!

Thanks to Gail of Scribal Terror and Neatorama for inspiring this post.

More from mental_floss...

May 1, 2007 - 1:13am
submit to reddit