Heartwood project

February 2014. Recording the sounds that ash trees make. I have been using a stereo pair of contact microphones to explore the internal soundworld of ash trees (as recommended by Chris Watson – thanks Chris!). The results were quite a revelation. I was expecting to hear primarily the sound of creaking wood – but most trees don’t do that! Instead what you hear are the sounds of branches and twigs knocking together. Ivy rustling on the trunk. Raindrops hitting the wood. And most amazingly of all, the sound that ash keys (or samara) make. When moved by the wind or rain, they make a gentle clattering sound, which sounds a bit like a marimba. I am beginning to think of ash trees as acting like a kind of antenna, making sound in response to the movement of wind and rain. The wood is certainly conducting sound, presumably through the vessels. The bird song I am hearing through the contact mics. must be being conducted in this way, maybe filtered through the wood. This is another big surprise.

ashrecordingmap lichen