Sing me the song of the Earth


A genuinely weird thought was brought to me the other day by an old friend who also used to write for Sounds Like...Magazine. Personally, I don't believe a word of it, but as even William Shakespeare said (Hamlet Act I, Scene V) "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

For whatever it's worth, here it is: Perhaps somebody can start a new environmental movement based on "earth song" and save us all...

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Do you know what a barometer is?  It's an instrument for measuring air pressure and an indispensable part of any good weatherman's tool kit.  What he will do with it is simple: by checking his barometer reading and comparing it with prior readings and their corresponding prior weather conditions, he will be able to develop long- and short-term patterns of what happens at which levels of indicated air pressure and, from those, be able to predict the coming weather for a particular geographical area. 

Aren't microphones and barometers really the same thing? Doesn't a microphone's diaphragm move back and forth in response to local air pressure in exactly the same way - and for exactly the same reason -- as the diaphragm of an aneroid barometer responds to changes in the weather? And when we record the changes in the electrical signal coming from a microphone to capture a sound, isn't that exactly the same thing (although in a different medium) as is done to record local atmospheric pressure changes by a barograph - a recording barometer?

Everybody knows that sound is really nothing more than a series of changes in local (at our eardrums) air pressure that we perceive in terms of phase, frequency, and amplitude, and that our brain interprets to be a siren,  a dog bark, a test tone, or a piece of music. So why couldn't one reasonably say that sound is "the weather of the ear"?

And if that's true, why can't the weather of our planet be interpreted as sound?


Sounds usually reflect, in their frequency and tone, the size of the thing that makes them (a string bass is much larger than, for example, a violin, and produces a much deeper tone). That being true, couldn't one reasonably expect that the biggest thing on earth -- the Earth, itself - would produce a VERY low tone, indeed?

Tones can be either a single frequency or a more or less complex aggregation of several frequencies - a fundamental plus a series of harmonics. Frequencies are always described by the number of changes that will produce that frequency in a single period of time: For example, a frequency of 440 Hz, (440 complete sine-wave changes [from zero to positive peak pressure, to back to zero, to down to negative peak pressure, to back up to zero] per second) is the musical note "A above middle C" and serves as a general tuning standard for musical pitch.

20 Hz - twenty changes per second - is generally accepted as the effective lower limit of human hearing (anything lower than that being more likely to be felt than heard). What, though, if we were dealing with REALLY low frequencies (like those produced by an object the size of the Earth); isn't it possible that the changes in those might have to be stated not "per second" but per hour, per day, per month, or even longer?

What if we were to record the air-pressure changes that make up our weather and play them back at a speed that would increase their frequency into the range of human hearing? (Doubling the speed would double the frequency, and so on). What would they sound like? Would they be musical -- truly the song of Mother Earth? Would they, instead, be like the "demonic" messages said to be recorded backward and at low level on certain LPs? Would they contain a message, a warning, or instructions for humanity and for the future of us and our planet? Would it be in a language that we can understand? And what would that tell us, just in itself?


Is this the greatest insight into our world that's ever happened? Or just nonsense?

I don't know. I do know, though, that they're already recording the sounds of the Sun and of the Moon, and that you can even hear them on YouTube.


Do you think anybody's working on the translations?

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