Music of the Earth

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

Happy Earth Day! Well…it will be Earth Day in a couple days. First observed in 1970, Earth Day is intended to bring awareness to environmental issues and our interconnectedness to the only home we’ve ever known. Carl Sagan Said it best:

“…That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. ”

– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Dr. Sagan was referring to a photo of the Earth taken on Valentines Day, 1990, by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of about 6 billion miles. Here’s that iconic image:

Pale_Blue_Dot

That’s the Earth – Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot – the tiny speck in the yellowish beam of light. Puts things into a different perspective, doesn’t it?

Well, our perspective is music, and believe it or not, the Earth makes its own music; we just have to listen for it. Let’s explore Mother Nature’s symphony.

Singing Stones and Ringing Rocks

Yep. Stones can sing – and I’m not referring to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (although, those guys can sing!).These amazing, natural rock formations can be found all over the globe, from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Omaruru, Namibia. The rocks ring like a bell when struck, producing different tones depending on physical make up and size. Here’s the interesting thing: scientists still can’t come to a consensus on what causes the rocks to ring. Regardless, they still sound beautiful. Take a listen!

Interested in checking out ringing rocks for yourself? Here’s a list of locations over at Wikipedia.

The Sea Organ

Ok…this one is a bit of a stretch. In Zadar, Croatia, a human-made structure is played constantly by the waves of the sea. From the website, Odd Music:

The Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is is a natural musical instrument, seventy meters long with thirty-five organ pipes built under the concrete. The musical pipes are located so that the sea water and wind movements produce musical sounds that are heard by passers by so that it achieves a communication with nature and promotes a unity of architecture and environment. As sea forces and energies are unpredictable in terms of tides and winds, this organ offers [a] never-ending concert of numerous musical variations in which the performer is nature itself.

That’s the key here, friends – nature itself is the player of this instrument. If there ever was an example of humanity and the earth coming together to make music, this is it. Have a listen – it’s mesmerizing.

Aeolus – The Wind Sculpture

The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion - photo: newatlas.com

The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion – photo: newatlas.com

This piece of art, created by Luke Jerram, falls into the same category as the Sea Organ; this is on a smaller scale but no less beautiful. Here is a human-made instrument designed to be played by one of the earth’s forces – the wind. In Greek Mythology, Aeolus was the ruler of the winds, so the sculpture is aptly named. Consisting of 310 stainless steel pipes with some containing suspended harp strings, Aeolus is always being played whenever the wind is blowing.

For some time, the sculpture was traveling around England but now has a permanent home in Canary Wharf, London. If you’re there, check it out!

We certainly have done much with music as a civilization, but remember, the oldest musician around is the Earth itself. Beyond sounds of the planet, other inhabitants make music from bird songs and whale songs to the buzzing bees and howling wolves. Music is all around us. Take some time this week to go outside, maybe to a park, and listen to the music of nature. You might just find some inspiration for your own music!

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