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We tend to think of trees as being steadfast and silent; standing tall in forests, only rustling and creaking when a gust of wind passes through them. The only time we associate trees with music is when we use wood to make instruments. But can trees themselves be musical?

Enter German artist and musician Bartholomäus Traubeck. Born in Munich in 1987, Traubeck utilizes everything from satellite photos to blood samples for his art. However, his most widely celebrated work is a combination of wood and technology.

Traubeck has created a record player that reads the rings of a tree as if they were a vinyl record. By modifying the needle and swapping it out for a small camera, the player reads each ring and translates it into a note on piano via a computer program called Ableton Live.

“It is our mind that is able to accomplish the translation from, say visual forms to an imagination of fitting sound for a shape,” said Traubeck in an interview with Huffington Post. “This is what we call the audiovisual experience. If something like this creates a certain atmosphere you can not experience it by taking one sensory input away.”

Take a listen:


YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.


If you like what you hear, Traubeck will soon have limited edition 12″ vinyl records available. Each one is unique. On one side is the wood veneer; on the other is a recording of the music that that veneer produced when played on the modified record player. If you feel truly moved by this project, there will be an edition with all 10 unique records. For this set, Traubeck used several different types of wood from the album Years: pear, ash, beech, birch, walnut, oak and maple.

However, if you are more of a digital music fan, the album containing all the wood variations is available for download here.

What do think or rather, what do you hear?