Soundtrack of the end of the world, music of roads and a stalactite organ: peace and nature in sounds

Sounds surround us. Natural phenomena and even things created by man exist in the space of sounds - sometimes in unpredictable and unexpected forms.

To what music will humanity meet the end of the world? How has the oldest musical composition changed our understanding of the history of harmony? What kind of music do roads make? What can be played on stalactites? We share some amazing stories.


Photo Jon Callas CC

Soundtrack of the end of the world


In 2015, a former intern of CNN, one of the largest television channels in the USA and the world, “uploaded” a strange record to the Internet - on it a military band plays a mournful melody for a minute.


She caught everyone’s attention because on the videotape with this recording it was written “show when the end of the world will be confirmed”. The exact date of the recording is unknown, but, apparently, the video was made around the beginning of the 80s .

According to some assumptions, the recording may be related to the statement of Ted Turner, the founder of the 24-hour news channel CNN. Launching the world's first 24-hour news broadcast, he said : “We will go on the air on June 1 and will not be interrupted until the very end of the world. When it comes, we will talk about it, play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and set sail. "

There is still a theory that this melody was played by an orchestra on the sinking Titanic.

Music of silence


In 1952, avant-garde composer John Cage wrote the three-part song 4′33 ″ (read as “four minutes, thirty three seconds” or simply “four thirty three”). In her score, only the only instruction for the musician is not to make a single sound intentionally. The composition can be performed on any instrument or instruments, in a classical or jazz orchestra, processed into rap or dubstep.

Here it is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

She is in the rock processing of Frank Zappa:


The idea of ​​John Cage is that any sounds can become music - including the sounds that we associate with silence, pause. The only sounds in this composition are the surrounding noise, which is accidentally made by the audience and artists themselves: creak of chairs, coughing, rustling clothes. Thanks to this (according to Cage's idea), a person begins to listen more carefully and more consciously, not relying on the familiar sound aesthetics.

Oldest melody on earth


This is probably the oldest musical composition created by man (and has survived to this day). This midi version, of course, does not give an idea of ​​how the anthem could actually sound - the melody on the tablet is given in the most general terms and there is no exact indication of the rhythm in which it should be performed.


This is a ritual anthem that is more than 3,400 years old - in the 50s it was discovered on one of several clay tablets dating from the 14th century BC.

Deciphered cuneiform writing on the tablet in 1972 - this was done by Anna Draffkorn Kilmer (Anne Draffkorn Kilmer) from the University of California. The musical composition is recorded in notes on the first half of the tablet , and instructions on how best to play it on an instrument resembling a nine-stringed lyre are recorded in notes on the second half .

Hurrian hymn to the goddess Nikkal in arrangement of composer Michael Levy for solo lyre:


Since then, the melody has been played on various instruments, from the lyre to the synthesizer. As it actually sounded, no one knows, because the rhythmic design of the composition remains unknown.

This discovery gave rise to many others - for example, if the decoding of the record is correct, then the seven-diatonic scale, which underlies modern musical harmony, existed even then. Accordingly, the musical notation, which we use now, in one form or another was known to the ancient Sumerians. It was previously believed that the modern diatonic scale appeared a millennium later.

The world's largest musical instrument


Great stalactite Organ (The Great Stalacpipe Organ) located in Luray Caverns in the USA. It was created by the mathematician Leland W. Sprinkle in the mid-50s - he worked hundreds of stones and attached a hammer to each one, which he wired to the console specially created for this organ from the Klann Organ Supply Company. The game of this organ is heard throughout the cave - about 14 square kilometers.

The sound of the organ is somewhat reminiscent of a xylophone. The natural sound background of the cave - the rumble and drops of water striking against stones and water surface - is also part of the music that creates an otherworldly atmosphere. For example, this is how the “Moonlight Sonata” sounds performed by the cave organ:


Singing roads


There are eight singing roads in the world - in Denmark, Japan, South Korea, USA, Ukraine, Taiwan, China and San Marino.

They act on a similar principle - due to the application of special convex markers or grooves, the road or its segments cause vibration, which is transmitted through the wheels to the car body and sounds like a melody. To recognize it, you need to go at a certain speed.

This is one of the musical sections of the road in Japan:


The first musical road, Asphaltophone, was created by Danish artists in 1995 - they applied two parallel strips of convex markers of various shapes at certain intervals. In Japan, this idea came by chance - one of the workers of the bulldozer made several grooves in the asphalt and realized that, depending on the depth of the grooves and their length, the car body can make sounds of different tonality.

In South Korea, the music road operates on a similar principle, but it has a different purpose - it does not entertain tourists, but is designed to distract drivers and prevent them from falling asleep while driving. Typically, those and other roads (with markers and grooves) sound best at a certain speed - about 40-50 km / h.

Even more such stories (and completely different, but also related to the world of sounds) can be found in the micropodcast of World According to Sound by Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff.



Interesting about the sound from our “Hi-Fi World”: