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Earthquake music

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Let's face it, earthquakes don't really get the positive reviews they deserve. It may have something to do with buildings collapsing and bridges failing.

To remedify this, MaxCo. is seeking to produce and release an album of earthquake music. High-resolution cameras will be dotted around city rooftops, woodland trees and other such places where tall thin things tend to exist. After the next major quake (and assuming that at least some buildings/trees survive), the footage will be analysed pixel by pixel, to measure the swaying of tall objects. All the sways will then be up-shifted by a few octaves to bring them into the audio range.

The resulting symphony from a large quake in (say) a city will begin with a discordant clamour of sound, dominated by the main frequency of the quake itself. Once the quake stops, however, each skyscraper will continue to resonate at its own characteristic frequency (or perhaps a base frequency plus one or two harmonics). Shorter, stiffer buildings will produce a rapidly fading "piiiing", like wineglass being tapped; taller more flexible ones will produce deeply sonorous bass notes that take minutes to fade into silence. Perhaps one or two buildings will start out on one note, and then abruptly shift frequency as a vital structural element cracks somewhere in the core.

Forests will provide a much more complex soundscape - not only are trees more flexible than most buildings, but their tapering trunks and large limbs will add richness and overtones.

"Really? £25bn of damage? Yes, but it sounded lovely."

MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 04 2019

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       This hardly counts as "music" since you are passively listening to ambient noise. I would suggest synchronised and timed detonantion of nuculeur warheads in deep underground shafts near fault boundaries.
pocmloc, Nov 04 2019
  

       Umm, y'know that there are seismometers, right? Far more precise than watching lamp-posts wiggle.
Also (if you're lucky, or unlucky, depending on your point-of- view) you can hear earthquakes. I know from personal experience, listening to aftershocks. Like thunder, they do sound pretty cool.
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 04 2019
  

       //seismometers// Yes, if they can be cheaply mounted on the tops of all the buildings and trees. I was thinking that a single high-resolution video could capture movement in multiple structures. It's the structures' movements that we're interested in, more than the ground's.   

       In fact, the video might not need to be so high-res. I know people have recorded sound by filming (with a regular camera) things like pot-plant leaves or crisp packets exposed to the sound.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 04 2019
  

       Dunno about "all" the buildings and trees... More than 200 were distributed around Christchurch after the Feb 2011 quake.
These days, many cities have a wide angle "live" camera for TV channels. So you can probably do it already.
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 04 2019
  

       // These days, many cities have a wide angle "live" camera for TV channels. //   

       Yes, you just never know when some maniac is going to fly a commercial jet right into a tall building ...   

       Unfortunately.
8th of 7, Nov 04 2019
  

       What is the sound of one land flapping?
xenzag, Nov 04 2019
  

       Ooooh, ooooh, we know this one ... "California Dreaming" played on an 8-track stereo in a vintage convertible Cadillac Eldorado, being driven pedal-to-the-metal towards Nevada as the San Andreas unzips along its entire length behind it ...
8th of 7, Nov 04 2019
  

       // Yes, if they can be cheaply mounted on the tops of all the buildings and trees. //   

       Maybe not seismometers, but accelerometers are miniscule and cheap now, and should be sensitive enough for that motion.   

       // I know people have recorded sound by filming (with a regular camera) things like pot-plant leaves or crisp packets exposed to the sound. //   

       That was done with a high-speed camera, unless more recent work has managed to get it to work with a regular camera somehow (rolling shutter?). The term to search for is 'visual microphone'.
notexactly, Nov 11 2019
  
      
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