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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 143 | November 8, 2009|


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Sounds & Rhythm

The Melody Road:
Plays music as you drive over

Compiled by Nazia Ahmed

A few years ago in Japan, members of the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute started carving thousands of specific grooves into nearby roads. The slightly loopy brainwave belonged to a Mr. Shinoda, a man who accidentally cut a road in several places with a digger and then later drove over the damage in his car. He realised that with some planning and time to kill he could create rows of grooves which, when driven over at a certain speed, would 'play a tune'. The results, the 'melody road', can be seen above and the grooves are between 6 and 12mm apart: the narrower the interval, the higher the pitch. The stretches of the road, each playing a different tune, can currently be found in 3 places in Japan - Hokkaido, Wakayama and Gunma - with the optimum musical speed being a depressingly slow 28mph. Don't expect a virtual orchestra - from what I've heard, it's not exactly beautiful music, but it's unique and it's mental. A winning combination. Until they create roads which can sing.

The Glass Harmonica
The glass harmonica is a type of musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction. Because its sounding portion is made of glass, the glass harmonica is a crystallophone. The phenomenon of rubbing a wet finger around the rim of a wine goblet to produce tunes is documented back to Renaissance times; Galileo considered the phenomenon (in his Two New Sciences), as did Athanasius Kircher. The Irish musician Richard Puckeridge is typically credited as the first to play an instrument composed of glass vessels by rubbing his fingers around the rims. Beginning in the 1740s, he performed in London on a set of upright goblets filled with varying amounts of water. During the same decade, Christoph Willibald Gluck also attracted attention playing a similar instrument in England.

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