Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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aeolian earrings

earrings that make music played by the wind
  (+20, -1)(+20, -1)
(+20, -1)
  [vote for,

These earrings can be shaped like tiny harps or other stringed instruments with a small sounding board. They hang and dangle from the ear, so the wind can catch the strings and produce pleasant, harmonized notes. These would also work if the wearer ran or spun around, so the breeze from the movement can play the strings.

Dancers like the Whirling Dervishes can produce their own music as they twirl. [see link for Aeolian instruments]

xandram, Feb 09 2010

Aeolian harps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolian_harp
[xandram, Feb 09 2010]

[FarmerJohn]'s Hair Kites Hair_20Kites
Too bad the original illustration to this idea is no longer accessible, but it is still a nice companion to [xandram]'s Aeolian Earrings. [jurist, Feb 10 2010]

Arthur Robb on Aeolian harps http://www.art-robb.co.uk/aeol.html
Much more useful technical info and builders' drawings [pocmloc, Feb 10 2010]

Scandinavian door harps http://www.harpsandchimes.com/
An alternative solution [pocmloc, Feb 10 2010]

gold wire instrument strings http://www.annheymann.com/gold.htm
Historical and practical discussion [pocmloc, Feb 10 2010]

Mayan chiming ball earrings http://www.mystery-...7&osCsid=f74a3f878b
From India aparrently... [pocmloc, Feb 10 2010]

Beat Frequency http://en.wikipedia...ki/Beat_(acoustics)
A wikipedia article on the phenomena of the beat frequency. [talldave, Feb 16 2010]


csea, Feb 09 2010

       Beautifully romantic, and musically sound. +
blissmiss, Feb 09 2010

       I am going to tentatively call bad science - strings short enough to be contained within earrings will produce ultrasonic frequencies, and soundboards that small will not produce enough sound.   

       On the other ear, I have somewhere a small pendant in the form of a dull metal sphere approx. 1cm across. Inside is some kind of chiming mechanism that makes suprisingly mellow, low-pitched sounds when the ball is moved. I have see larger versions as balls in chinese shops, but I have never seen them used as earrings - my pendant is definitely small enough but my ears are not pierced. And there is no aeolian angle.
pocmloc, Feb 09 2010

       These will nicely complement [FarmerJohn]'s Hair Kites. (You've obviously been thinking about this idea for some time, [xandram]!)
jurist, Feb 10 2010

       They could be very loud in the wearer's ears, and [pocmloc]'s observations about string length and soundboard volume are valid. Yet I feel a + is warranted nonetheless.
tatterdemalion, Feb 10 2010

       Too true.   

       Aeolian harps (in their traditional form) are not harps, but box-zithers, with a cover to direct a planar airflow over the strings. The strings are generally tuned all to the same note, but with different thicknesses to increase the chances of one producing the required vortices. The musical chords produced come from the harmonics of the strings. Note that one key difficulty is that the strings can be reluctant to sound especially in low-speed airflow.   

       I've also posted a link to Scandinavian door harps, these are also box-zithers, but instead of a cover to direct airflow, these have little wooden balls suspended to touch the strings. When the zither moves (usually because the attached door is moving), the balls gently bounce off the strings, sounding them. I think this may be a more successful system for producing sounding stringed instrument earrings.   

       Finally on the size point. For a given length, different string materials produce different pitches. The available pitch is adjustable within limits by adjusting the tension, but each material has upper and lower limits defined by snapping and going flabby respectively. In order from the highest to the lowest pitch, would be nylon, gut, steel, brass, silver, gold.   

       So I'm suggesting that a gold wire string one inch long should be able to produce an audible note - it will be fairly high pitched even so (2œ to 3 octaves above middle c). And a one inch square soundboard may have enough surface area to project this sound. I'm thinking that the string would want to be pretty thin (perhaps 0.2mm) and the soundboard would want to be a hard wood such as sycamore / maple, and be something like 0.5mm thick.   

       I am slightly suprised not to have found more info on google about making working miniature stringed instruments... will keep looking
pocmloc, Feb 10 2010

       How about little pan pipes ? They could be coiled to give a reasonbly pitched note. But I wouldn't know about the diameter of the opening - I don't think it would need to be very wide. It's "just" a question of gettting the wind to blow over the opening at the correct angle then - the earing could swivel and adjust itself in the wind.
VaquitaTim, Feb 10 2010

       wow, thanks for all the feedback! I wondered about the small size, but then again, some earrings can be made rather large if light enough. I had also thought about wind chimes, but thinking that would really give me a headache!
[jurist] thanks for the Farmer John link! I had forgotten about that!
xandram, Feb 10 2010

       I love "soundful" jewelry.   

       I think tiny electronics could be more useful to make the sounds...as air circulates through the little "strings" it could be amplified by the circuitry so your mate (or date) could hear it....perhaps it could also be programmed to pick up on your personal heart rate and blood pressure...getting louder with passion, anger, excitement...sex...a beautiful idea if it can only be practically realized.
Blisterbob, Feb 12 2010

       you could whisper sweet nothings in one ear and have it come out the other, louder.
FlyingToaster, Feb 12 2010

       How romantic [Blisterbob]!!! thank you.xox
xandram, Feb 13 2010

       I know a guy who has gauged his ears out, and often wears hollow plugs. Several of his glass, and plastic plugs will produce an audible high-pitched whine if he turns his head in the right direction during a strong wind.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 13 2010

       I've seen a guy with those. His are large enough you could put a siren whistle in them.
RayfordSteele, Feb 13 2010

       YEAH! And then you could get that FWEEEEWEEEWEEE! sound!
ye_river_xiv, Feb 15 2010

       You could overcome the ultrasonic drawback by having two ultrasonic sounds whose frequency difference is the frequency of the sound you want, it's called the "beat frequency".   

       I think you still might have a problem with the loudness, though.
talldave, Feb 16 2010


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