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Years – tree ring player gives a concert that sounds ridiculously interesting

Traubec record player - Music of the Trees

Do you remember learning that you can tell the age of a tree by looking at its rings? Tree rings tell us so much – what the climate was during certain periods of its growth, as well as other circumstances it experienced during the tree’s lifetime. But now a German engineer / artist has created a record player that captures the “music” of the trees.

This unusual device “translates” the texture and color variations of a cross-section of a tree trunk into music. Almost classical in scope, the eerily beautiful music comes from the unique rings that make up each tree. Artist Bartholomaus Traubeck created what he terms a “generative process” that unlocks it for the rest of us to appreciate. The music is mapped to a scale defined by the appearance of the wood – from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture.

Tree ring slice

The entire musical piece is called “Years”. It features seven “pieces” representing different Austrian trees. It’s sad that we are only able to really listen to this amazing music after the tree has died, but appreciating and enjoying this music is a fitting tribute to the tree’s long life. You can download the MP3 of Years at or order the 12″ vinyl release at

Debra Atlas is a freelance environmental writer and eco-enthusiast based in Northern California, and is the Red Ferret’s Ecological Editor. Debra looks for the upside of eco-change – what’s positive, making a difference. She hunts down those interesting things cooked up by creative minds, especially if they’re strange and eccentric.

Debra Atlas – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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