I suddenly have the urge to go blow across the top of a bottle. This is Aeolus, an Acoustic Wind Pavilion, and I have no doubt that we would stand within it for quite a while… great sound. It reminded me immediately of England’s Singing Ringing Tree, as well as the sound of Tibetan Singing Bowls.
This amazing art project goes along with my latest YouTube episode about gusty science: What Is Wind?…
Luke Jerram is a colorblind artist based in the UK. Aeolus is a sonic creation that blends acoustic physics, inspirations from classical civilizations, and visual adventure. The arch is a large Aeolian harp, an ancient instrument that uses the wind’s vibration on strings to send a frequency down a long metal tube.
A listener in the center of the arch experiences sounds transmitted from a field of taut strings and naturally harmonic open tubes. In addition, the angle of light transmitted through the polished pipes creates an altered listening environment. The experience can change by the minute or hour depending on wind conditions.
The tightened strings vibrate due to something called the von Karman vortex street effect, where the vortex created behind a string causes it to vibrate. It’s similar to what happens when a car antenna begins to sing in the wind.
You can see a photo gallery here, and listen to interviews and sound samples here.
A true feat of beauty and science.
(via Luke Jerram)
A Tibetan Singing Bowl:
Singing bowls… are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic).
You can also watch this Tibetan Bowl Master both strike and rub the outsides of the bowls for different sounds.
There are more bells ringing in the archives. Related watching and listening: Glass Harps.
It can be a challenge for some sound-making machines to be understood via video. Sometimes there’s no way to truly understand how it’s working without the experience of playing it. The theremin, patented in 1928 and played above by its Russian inventor Léon Theremin, is one such instrument.
The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other, so it can be played without being touched. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
Still fascinating to watch, however, especially when played by the inventor. This video, and many others are featured in io9’s The Oddest-Looking Musical Instruments on Earth. And/or there are more inventions and instruments in the archives.