Listen to this eerie aeolian harp sculpture that sounds like a futuristic nightmare

9 June 2021, 09:02 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 14:05

Aeolian harp sculpture in Burnley, Lancashire
Aeolian harp sculpture in Burnley, Lancashire. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This is what one of the planet’s largest wind chimes sounds like.

Atop a hill overlooking the English town of Burnley in Lancashire, sits a unique musical sculpture called the ‘Singing Ringing Tree’.

It is constructed from pipes of galvanised steel, which are stacked in layers to form the shape of a tree.

The three-metre-tall tree bends to the winds on Crown Point to produce a melancholic song, which is said to sound choral and slightly discordant.

Designed by Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin, it was part of a project for the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network. The aim of the artwork, which was erected in 2006, was to create a landmark to decorate the countryside.

The tree’s range is several octaves, its tone oscillating between a melodious hum to a nightmarish whistle depending on the force of the wind coming off the moor.

Read more: This colossal 80-inch symphonic gong that sounds straight out of a horror movie

The 'Singing Ringing Tree' sits atop a hill overlooking Burnley
The 'Singing Ringing Tree' sits atop a hill overlooking Burnley. Picture: Getty

While some of the pipes are just there for structural integrity, others have been carefully tuned to enable the tree’s music-making abilities. Some of the pipes were tuned by adding holes to their underside, much like a recorder.

The Singing Ringing Tree is essentially an aeolian harp, meaning a musical instrument that is played by the wind.

Aeolian harps more often come in the shape of a small wooden box, that people leave on their windowsills for the wind to make its own ghostly music with.

Read more: The 13 weirdest musical instruments ever

In June 2007, the Singing Ringing Tree won a National Award for architectural excellence by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In 2015, it was chosen as one of 21 landmarks that define Britain in the 21st century, as voted by the public.

So, sit back, relax and let that sonic breeze wash over you…

The Singing, Ringing Tree