Arboretum Walk: The Music of Trees

The kids ran and skipped down the paths, exuberant after a full day of school.  Suddenly, we heard a sound, the music we were looking for.  We slowed down, the children becoming attentive and focused.  Soon we figured out where the strange noises were coming from: the trees.  We spotted the speakers and tubing, and stopped to listen to the strange noises funneling out.  We had found the first stop on the tour Paths II: The Music of Trees.

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Tubing in the Trees

University of Washington Music grad student Abby Aresty has created a unique musical piece, and installed it in the trees and shrubs at the Arboretum.  She came to the park many times to listen to and record natural and human sounds, which she then combined into a musical composition.  Kids and adults will enjoy exploring the paths in the Arboretum and searching for these otherworldly sounds.

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Where is that sound coming from?

The day we went it was sunny and warm, but we saw plenty of evidence that fall has arrived.

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Brilliant Maple Keys

We printed out a map of the sites where the speakers were installed, which helped us define our journey for the day.

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Signs Mark Each Site

We quickly saw that our kids were of a different mood than some of the other folks who had come to hear the music; our kids were like puppies let out for a romp, but many folks were more contemplative.  We tried to give other folks their space while we also tried to help our own kids to settle and listen more calmly.

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Leaf Skeleton

We heard rain falling on leaves, wind blowing, dries flowers falling, and even fly feet walking around on a microphone.

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Calming Down to Listen

I highly recommend attending this art installation.  But don’t delay – the music runs through the end of October only.  It has limited hours:  It is open on Wednesdays from 3-6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.  You can read more about the exhibition on the Arboretum website, a Seattle Times article, an NPR story (where I heard about it) and a UW Today article.

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