Experimental sound artist Bartholomaus Traubeck has created a musical art installation called Years that imagines the sound of wood by replacing those old classic vinyls with razor thin slices of wood, finally ‘playing’ them on a homemade record player. His modified record player, is, “more like a generative sound machine” uses data from the wood as its source for rhythm and notation rather than, “a representational and precise sonification of the data stored in year rings”.
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.
Though Traubeck’s record player is simply a concept there are the endless possibilities to innovation that have been presented by this prototype. Who knows, before long your favourite dittie could be growing in your own back yard.
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