The Cloud Harp
June 19, 2005 4:37 AM   Subscribe

The Cloud Harp. The transposition of a natural phenomenon into music. The melodies and sounds are determined by factors such as cloud height, density, structure, luminosity, and meteorological conditions.
posted by nickyskye (15 comments total)
[this is good] Thanks.
posted by dhruva at 5:13 AM on June 19, 2005

You're a veritable mathemARTician. That was cirriusly puffy. I'm not sure there'll be a cd and tour though. A+ for strange.
posted by peacay at 5:38 AM on June 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

And Pittsburgh is a great place for it since the weather runs the gamut from partly cloudly to mostly cloudy.
posted by sexymofo at 6:19 AM on June 19, 2005

beyond the gimmicky/geeky angle, i don't get this appreciation for arbitrarily / randomly generated sound. seems to me the whole POINT of music is that a human being conceives and arranges and reproduces an audible experience which moves and inspires other human beings. it seems to me the equivalent of looking for inspiration in the output of a thousand monkeys with typewriters. or tieing words and sentences to the attributes of clouds and hoping for great literature.
posted by quonsar at 6:48 AM on June 19, 2005

Where are the sound samples? I must be missing something.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:49 AM on June 19, 2005

If I remember, on the first page, go to Chicago.
posted by peacay at 7:10 AM on June 19, 2005

The first Pittsburgh file (low clouds) sounds like a speeded-up recording of Kermit the Frog humming to himself.

This is neato -- thanks.
posted by climalene at 8:10 AM on June 19, 2005

Then there are wind harps. Much less dynamic than the cloud harps.

The Pittsburgh low clouds file sounds like R2-D2 to me.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:28 AM on June 19, 2005

Wonderful link. Thank you.
posted by Rothko at 12:10 PM on June 19, 2005

You're punny dear peacay, metaphors be with you. Thanks, the A+ is a real stratus symbol.

The fantasy of cloud music was for me a lot better than the reality of this cloud harp and I agree, it does rather sound a bit like R2-D2, maybe the sound of his rem dream states or something?

As a child of a playful scientist father (props to him on Father's Day), who taught me to sing about the sun being a mass of incandescent gas, I still associate fun and science together.
posted by nickyskye at 12:25 PM on June 19, 2005

This is very cool--it's quite interesting to be able to "hear" clouds this way, and the science behind it could translate to lots of different applications.

But I wouldn't call it music, definitely not. Music (all art) does share one element: intention. As quonsar points out, this is fundamental to what art is--something from one human being to another. Intent is critical in art-making.

[My favorite--and most succinct--definition of music comes from the composer Martin Mailman: "Music is sound and silence, in time, with intent."]
posted by LooseFilter at 2:48 PM on June 19, 2005

Defining music, whoa, big subject. There's plenty of supposed music there is intolerable to me, well intentioned or not, but I do think there is some sound magic, music, like singing whales, in this cloud harp, even if it isn't obviously melodic.
posted by nickyskye at 3:28 PM on June 19, 2005

I still have a 'wind harp" record, dating from long before the above entry. An LP. Believe me, it is more beautiful than the strange truncated windharp soundfile available above. It is soothing in a more avant-garde way than most of that pathetically simplistic New Age music.

BTW, that cloud music sounded like 50's Milton Babbitt to me. Or any other random (!) electronic music composer form that era.
posted by kozad at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2005

Where did "wind harp" come from? What happened to the classic term Aeolian harp, which has better implications.
posted by Viomeda at 6:14 PM on June 19, 2005

"Cloud Harp" ? same confusion
posted by Viomeda at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2005

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