What if a cloud could play the piano? This question is no longer as absurd as you would think, thanks to a new project by creative artist David Bowen. Take a listen to the result below.
Bowen invented a procedure using a camera to track cloud movements, which are then transmitted to a machine that strikes the piano keys. The effect is more impressive than you might at first imagine, although it’s a little disconcerting at times as the tone of the music shifts rapidly. But as Bowen points out on the project’s page, “It may sound chaotic at times, but so is nature after all.”
The playing is made possible by a computer programme, which takes the images from the camera and records how the clouds move over virtual keys on a pian ocomputer programme. It then sends the information to the machine to play a real piano.
Other artists have made use of nature’s creative abilities to directly influence music making. Earlier this year, we reported on the project employing music to depict the impact of climate change on forests in Alaska by having each instrument in a piece represent a type of tree.