May 01, 2007

Music From Sea Waves

Zadar.jpgIn 1977, sound artist Bill Fontana took a tape recorder down to the Kirribilli ferry pier in Sydney Harbour and discovered “music” in the sounds of the waves sluicing water into bore holes on the dock. (You can hear samples of it in this Quicktime video on his site.) The recording eventually reached the ears of artist in residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium, Peter Richards, and he sought to emulate this wave-produced music by embedding PVC and concrete pipes into a jetty on San Francisco Bay; at heights where they could be reached by the incoming tide. He called this creation, the Wave Organ. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to track down any online audio of the Wave Organ in action, but reporter Megan Edwards describes it as “like listening to the world's largest sea shell. It's like distant drums, muffled cymbals, quiet thunder.”

More recently, this concept of a wave-driven instrument was incorporated into the 2005 refurbishments of the quay at Zadar in Croatia. This version, called the Sea Organ, consists of a series of whistle openings built into the steps of a promenade that descends into the Adriatic. Unlike, the Wave Organ, the dulcet tones of the Sea Organ have been well documented in YouTube videos, a downloadable mp3, and a CD that can purchased from the official site.
(via Neatorama and Metafilter)

Posted by Warren at May 1, 2007 07:24 PM | Field Recordings | Instruments