Enter a soundscape of geo-located music composed for the trees of Regents Park.
This geo location app will play music by students from the Royal Academy of Music, their compositions an interpretation of the trees qualities both as individual specimens and as members of species. As you listen and walk a musical story inspired by trees will unfold.
Walk beneath tree foliage on a bright spring day; the leaves glow shades of green with the backlight and shimmer in the wind. The shape and movement of leaf types, the quality and depth of the greens in the foliage. A small tree standing alone reaches hopefully for the sky. A large tree dominates its environment, the scale and spread of the branches and the evident strength of the structure inspiring awe. Elsewhere, a group of trees might have layered low interlinking canopies which create an enclosed, intimate environment. As you look more closely individual species are recognised. The majestic London plane, the dark, mysterious evergreen yew, the ash, with its delicate compound leaves allowing light to filter through the canopy in a distinctive way.
Music for Trees aims to create a soundscape derived from this visual experience which is as beautiful and various. The composers have been tasked with identifying and giving sound to these myriad qualities, through an understanding of the characteristics of the different species and individual specimens. Each tree has its musical signature. Stand beneath a freestanding tree and the sound will play on its own. However, where canopies overlap, so will the sounds. Where many canopies overlap, multiple music sources may create a layering of sound, phasing effects, echoes and multiple shifting harmonies, an aural equivalent of the visual experience.
As the visitor moves through the trees, they will encounter new sounds, and familiar ones will fade, only to reappear again. The movement through the space will be intrinsic to the experience, just as movement beneath trees alters the visual experience, from dark heavy foliage, to lighter more translucent foliage, so the listening experience might alter, dense or dark tones giving way to delicate or lighter melodies.
This geo-location app will playback music based on the users proximity to trees. As many as eight trees will trigger their sounds at once, the volume dependent on the distance from the trees.
Download the app and walk. Put the phone in your pocket. Look up. Look at the trees which surround you. Sounds will come. Walk, wander, sounds will change and layer.
Then, later, have a look at your phone. The trees you are beneath will be identified, as will the composer of the music to which you are listening.
Music for Trees is a project which comes out of my experience as an arboriculturist working with the trees of Regents Park for the last five years. I inspect trees for their condition and health, but of course I respond to them in other ways too. Being amongst trees makes me feel better, in simple and profound ways. I approached The Royal Academy of Music with this idea and Im delighted that theyve taken the opportunity to work with us in the park. Ive introduced the students involved in the project to my understanding of trees. I hope they have been inspired by their new knowledge of the natural world.
The geo location app offers a personal experience which can be shared in a public space. I hope you enjoy the experience, share it with your friends, and learn something.