Getting Wood For Vinyl—Year Rings

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When looking down at a stump or a slice of a log, do you ever notice how those circular grooves in the wood kind of look like vinyl? Luckily I’m not the only one who thought so too, because this thought just got taken to another level. If you were to chop a thin section from a tree so it represented the form of an actual vinyl record, what would it sound like if the turntable could read its grooves? Well, this far out question has been sort of answered.

Bartholomäus Traubeck is the man behind a project called “Years,” where the sound artist and engineers created a record player that could play these tree slices that resemble actual records.

He explains it all in detail “A tree’s year rings are analyzed 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 rule set of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this rule set very differently.”