If the earth could make music, what kind of songs would it sing? This crazy contraption, called the Terrafon, actually lets us find out the answer to that question! Designed as a huge turntable tone arm and transducer, this musical instrument plays the earth like a big gravelly vinyl record. Artists Olle Cornéer and Martin Lübcke premiered it as part of a performance entitled “Harvest” at the Volt Music Festival in Sweden. Read on to check out the video of these determined choir musicians as they drag the big wooden tool-of-music through the Swedish countryside.
This joyful bunch is actually the Alunda Church Choir, and it’s conducted by Cantor Jan Hällgren, who we assume is the guy steering the plow.
Lübcke and Cornéer have collaborated on other musical organism projects: another piece, entitled Bacterial Orchestra, programs iPhones to create music given surrounding sounds. Placed in a group, the phones compete to become the most “musically adept,” with the weaker cells dying off and regenerating. It’s refreshing to see this kind of non-traditional collaboration – making melody with ambient sounds, phones, and with gravel and dirt.
So what kind of music does a Terrafon make? The resulting music sounds like, well, plowed earth. A rock gargling. An avalanche or a mountain crumbling. It actually sounds like a bit of a protest – like they should have asked permission before letting a bunch of amish-looking folks drag a big wooden tool through the troughs. But then, with all that’s going on with the environment, would you really expect the earth to sound cheery?