The Golden Gate Bridge is emitting a ‘creepy’ hum, so this musician used it as a drone in his music

29 July 2021, 14:33 | Updated: 2 August 2021, 17:31

Nate Mercereau duets with the Golden Gate Bridge
Nate Mercereau duets with the Golden Gate Bridge. Picture: YouTube / Nate Mercereau

By Kyle Macdonald

San Francisco’s landmark structure has been making a ‘creepy’ noise in the wind, and this guitarist knew just what to do.

For over a year, one of America’s most iconic landmarks has been making a mysterious noise.

Structural work has recently been undertaken to improve the stability and aerodynamics of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. However, new railings installed have been found to create an unexpected sound.

In high winds, the suspension bridge has been heard to emit a loud hum as air rushes through the structure. Many residents have termed it “eerie” and “creepy”, while others say they find the noise “soothing”.

Apparently, on a blustery day, the sound can be heard for miles around.

Read more: San Francisco’s bridge now ‘sings’ due to an engineering fault

The source of the hum remained a mystery for months, until an investigation pinpointed the source of the ambient audio.

“After studying this phenomenon extensively, we’ve determined that the sound comes from new and more aerodynamic railing that we installed on the west sidewalk,” said Golden Gate Bridge spokesperson Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, following an official investigation into the noise.

And wherever there’s sound, the musicians will follow.

The frequency of the windy hum has been found to be 440 hertz, matching the musical note A. This is the note that modern orchestras commonly tune to, following a note from the oboe.

Los Angeles guitarist Nate Mercereau has seized on the persistent hum and teamed up with local sound engineer Zach Parkes.

Together, they have just released a series of duets that utilise the bridge’s drone as a backing track. They call the spacious and cinematic-sounding project Duets | Golden Gate. We won’t keep you in suspense any longer – here’s what it sounds like.

Musician in San Francisco performs duet with the Golden Gate Bridge in cool clip

The resulting music is striking a chord. “I so admire your creative spirit,” responds one viewer on YouTube. Another remarked on the bridge’s role as a calm, peaceful drone.

Bridge engineers say they are determined to find a fix for the hum. But even if the sound is removed from the 84-year-old architectural icon, thanks to Mercereau, it has now all been immortalised in music.