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Road tunes

Tunes from the road
  (+34, -1)(+34, -1)(+34, -1)
(+34, -1)
  [vote for,

Place hundreds of strips in parallel across the road at varying distances. The noise that occurs when you drive across them creates a tune (harmony) according to the distance between the spaces. It might be possible to create a human voice if worked out properly (???)... "Macdonalds next left turning"...
bod, Nov 30 1999

William J. Beaty: Road Music http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/hoax.html
Great minds, etc. [jutta, Nov 30 1999]

Engine tunes http://www.autoblog...0-a-real-swan-song/
Playing music with your Formula 1 race car engine (MP3 available) [krelnik, Oct 06 2004, last modified Apr 29 2006]

Disney secrets http://www.hiddenmi...ecrets/Secrets.html
Check out #13 in that list. Also check out that whole site. Fascinating! [wbeaty, Oct 06 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Done in Japan http://www.dottocom...rchives/002914.html
Yay! [contracts, Feb 07 2005]

(?) This idea unleashed on the world http://www.youtube....watch?v=PHhGzfsqKH0
funky music [GutPunchLullabies, Nov 11 2007]

Another one http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=RLNfN6-eA0g
[Voice, Sep 22 2008]

BBC News: "Road plays Lone Ranger theme" http://news.bbc.co....mericas/7628668.stm
The Civic Musical Road [hippo, Sep 22 2008]

BBC News: "US 'musical road' hits bum note" http://news.bbc.co....mericas/7627713.stm
Local residents "not amused" [hippo, Sep 22 2008]

(??) Honda Civic Musical Road http://automobiles....AAAb:20090119025212
[ldischler, Jan 19 2009]

Lancester road making music http://www.youtube....watch?v=RLNfN6-eA0g
The music from on coming traffic sounds wierd, thanks to Doppler effect. [kamathln, May 20 2009]

"America the Beautiful" on U.S. Route 66 https://www.youtube...watch?v=upOtu16yOFg
I'm surprised this wasn't posted here earlier. It was made in 2014. [scad mientist, Jan 06 2016]

Musical road in Hungary https://twitter.com...1239515536125550593
Not sure when this was but here is is - wow, I posted this idea 21 years ago. [bod, Mar 16 2020]

2:40 https://www.youtube...watch?v=ugyehYT_Wt0
[Voice, Mar 24 2023]


       Though it would vary according to your speed ... which could add urgency to the message/tune if you are breaking the speed limit! ;-)
bod, Nov 30 1999

       Properly space rumble strips could, at a specific speed, cause very violent and uncomfortable shaking of the car. Could it be useful as a deterrent against speeding?
bromide, Feb 09 2000

       Somebody did this once! I heard about it on an NPR news program long ago. The inventor was trying to get public arts funding to put music on public roads. Supposedly the fidelity wasn't great, but tunes were definitely recognizable.   

       I've been looking for a reference ever since, with no luck. I don't think it was Bill Beaty (though I have met him since...), but who knows.   

       I think he did it by modifying the form used to cast the concrete road surface, but my memory is vague.
egnor, Mar 02 2000, last modified Aug 15 2000

       Another way to do this would be with a bar code painted on the safety barrier and a laser barcode reader on your car. A friend of mine did the math on this once and figured the bars could be up to an inch wide, which would make them very resistant to dust/salt/etc.
Eeyore, Mar 02 2000

       As a blind driver, my neighbor appreciates the current set-up which is in braille. In addition, The Bumpy City (L.A.) did not become a Hip Hop center by accident but by design, as Caltrans Crews work around the clock to ensure that new rhythms are available. Just use power windows and fan settings to create a funky autobahn sound. I believe I'll pass on the uncomfortable shaking-too violent, but then again bromide may own a shock/strut/alignment shop. With all the bumps and bod's idea and degroof's echo sentiments, perhaps you could get a Who Live at Leeds slap-echo, surf tunes or even rockabilly reverb depending on speed.
thumbwax, Aug 15 2000

       (Re: William j.Beaty: Road Music) I've never seen it before. Its scary to think there is someone out there as mad as me.
bod, Sep 25 2000

       Harmonicas are pretty cheap. Hold one out the window and move fingers over sound holes. Clean harp and play at anytime, moving or otherwise.
thumbwax, Sep 25 2000

       My cat plays the violin (not very well) while sitting in the basket on my bicycle.
PotatoPete, Mar 31 2001

       the humming noise could be annoying, could the frequency of the tune induce someone into trance?
masingerz, Apr 02 2001

       Road tunes ???   

       Well ... I don't know about that ...   

       Here in Yugoslavia we use car-radio for that :) Great invention ... really. You should buy one.   

       Good idea for stone age thou...
Ex, Jun 27 2001

       Ok, now I'm pissed 'cause I've been telling this to people for a long time....   

       Some things you can do:   


       Subliminal messaging   

       This all is based on a pattern-programmable steamroller.   

       By the way, the laser barcode thing too. 'cept it was to be painted on the road surface, and act as a poor-man's gps... Snow is a problem, though...   

       Last, regarding the harmonica: We played a practical joke on an old boss of mine; we duct-taped a harmonica to the bottom of his front bumper, but I moved, and I never found out if it worked.   

       Sheesh, all this stuff in one column!   

       Well, I'm glad I found this site anyway.
turner, Sep 21 2001

       Not sure what brought this back to the top, but as long as it's here:   

       I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really fast, and stick it out the window. I've been arrested three times for practicing.   


       I put a new engine in my car, but forgot to take the old one out. Now my car goes 500 miles per hour. The harmonica sounds *amazing*.   

       - Steven Wright
mwburden, May 10 2002

       Could there maybe be movable ones that are connected to a speed detector, and it tells you if youre speeding (and it alerts police if you are) or if your speed is ok?
Bert6322, Aug 20 2002

       This topic kind of reminds me of a thing my father was involved with many years ago before I was born - in the early 1950's. Goodyear Aerospace in Arizona (a division of Goodyear Tire and Rubber) made a road (test track) that had many parallel groves cut into it like groves of a record player. After the concrete road was poured, a big machine with many little grove making wires trailing behind it would go over the wet concrete and make many little parallel cuts in the concrete effectively making a "record track" for tires that traveled over it. The reason my father was involved was that he had a very low frequency loud voice that was perfect for recording messages that were to be sent to drivers driving over this road. When someone would drive over this road, their tires would act like the needle of a record player and would vibrate in time with my father's voice that was scratched into the concrete sections of this road. There were simple test messages in the road like: "Stop ahead" and "Speed Limit 30 Miles Per Hour" and "You are driving off the road!" and "Wrong Way" that made no sense when driven over backwards. Goodyear tested it for many years and found out that: 1. It startled drivers way too much - (The GOD thing). 2. It caused tires (of the time) to have less traction in wet weather conditions causing skidding. 3. Induced vibration in cars that led to skidding. With all of these reasons, Goodyear abandoned the project in the 60's but the test track still exists somewhere near Phoenix Arizona as I vaguely remember my father driving my family around the thing when I was but a wee little kid. I remember his voice coming from the tires - very loudly and clearly I might add - with a slight echo in it because the front tire would play the track just ahead of the back tire - making it sound very GOD like and kind of spooky. See also: "Voice of GOD on the road"
hosehead, Sep 30 2002

       On a related note, see link for a way to play music by varying the revolution speed of a race car's engine during warmup. There's an MP3 there where you can hear the car playing "We Are The Champions" (previously it was a link to a different MP3 from a different car, playing "When The Saints Go Marching In"). It was just so wacky and half-baked I had to post it here.
krelnik, Dec 31 2002

       Would you hear Satan if your drove in reverse? Ever played Judas Priest backwards?
dlux, Feb 20 2003

       With my weekend trips to Disneyworld in 1978 (15 and driver's permit only..lol) [WDW] had those entrance signs asking to tune the radio in to hear WDW info, I thought how cool it would be to have grooves in the road to play "It's a small world" or other such songs or info while coming in. The speed thing though, traveling at 25 mph might give the childrens song a more diabolical sound though. But my idea came from when my aunt's flower shop sold those plastic strips with grooves in them, when attached by tape to (resonating) baloons and scraped by your thumbnail would exclaim, :"Happy Birthday!:" or "I love you" or the such. They weren't popular and died out of existence? You could repeat the technique by adhering combs (the tight-knited teeth for fine hair, or Nit combs... Oooo how about the metals (nit combs) ones and a file would be cool too ) end to end to a ruler or a few yardsticks and removing specific teeth to create the wave frequencies. Never tried it, just a thought.   

       So we could add grooves to the guardrails for when a sleeping driver's car suddenly scrapes against it, it repeats, "Wake up!" or better ,"Too late, now! Dude"
codyd, Mar 01 2003

       In J.G. Ballard's story "The Subliminal Man", there were highways built with rubber studs in them that would make people's cars vibrate uncomfortably unless the drivers bought a new set of tires (whose tread design matched the pattern of the studs). Then everything would be fine until They (whoever made the tires) changed the pattern of the studs again, at which time everyone would have to buy new tires...
golem14, Apr 16 2003

       Speaking of Disney, I once saw some info about a "road music" test track at Disney World in Orlando. Supposedly it was layed down on some airfield not accessable to the general public. Ah, here it is, listed under number thirteen: http://www.hiddenmickeys.org/WDW/Property/Secrets/Secrets.html
wbeaty, Nov 04 2003

       I drive over those little raised bumps dividng lanes all the time, and thought it might be cool if they were tuned, to play you a little song as you changed lanes - maybe a more ominous song as you drifted off onto the shoulder. I found this little gem from 1999. But the best of all is [hosehead]s anno about actually incorporating a human voice into road grooves that plays inside the car. Now that is a seriously halfbaked idea!
bungston, Dec 24 2003

       People of the Bakery! This has been baked in Japan! See link!
GutPunchLullabies, Nov 11 2007

       Oh... I see someone has already posted a link. Well, here's the video, anyway.
GutPunchLullabies, Nov 11 2007

       Hmmmmm, not sure it would be much fun to live in a house on that road.
mecotterill, Feb 09 2008

       correct re: california, refer today's 'the australian', but I can't find a link for the article, apparently if yhou drive a honda civic at exactly 88klms over the bumps it plays the william tell overture (?). as it is actually a paid advertisement apparently it is only the honda civic whose wheels are at the correct spacing that will hear the tune. to everyone else it is like most advertising, just plain rubbish noise. it only makes me wonder what idiot beaurecrat approved the scheme.
williamsmatt, Sep 22 2008

       If Honda paid for the road, it could be a way to remove some tax burden.
Voice, Sep 22 2008

       //what idiot beaurecrat // Oh, the irony.
coprocephalous, Sep 22 2008

       Link added.
hippo, Sep 22 2008

       Another link added - apparently no one likes the musical road and they're going to re-pave that section tomorrow.
hippo, Sep 22 2008

       This is now in a TV commercial for Honda. As soon as I saw it, I remembered this idea.
Zimmy, Jan 16 2009

       [marked-for-deletion] redundant - from the help file: "redundant - a very similar invention already exists on the halfbakery. Other frequently posted inventions include:   

       .....talking "rumble strips" by the side of the highway"
xenzag, Jan 07 2016

       My guess is that this idea is the original version (given the date) and that all subsequent posts are themselves redundant. By defn, this idea could only be redundant if it was not the original.
calum, Jan 07 2016

       I dreamed about this idea recently!
pocmloc, Mar 16 2020


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