Originating in ancient Greece, the Aeolian harp is a remarkable musical instrument that is played by the wind, which initiates harmonic resonances to create the harp’s eerie sound. The Aeolian harp takes its name from the Greek god of the wind, Aeolus, as its other-worldly sounds are initiated by the movement of the wind over its strings. The instrument is also known as the harmonic harp and spirit harp.
Aeolian harps were popular throughout the ages, especially during the Victorian era, for instance, Samuel Taylor Coleridge – an English poet and a philosopher – had one in his window which inspired his poetry. In later times Henry Cowell’s Aeolian Harp (1923) was one of the first piano pieces to feature extended techniques on the piano which included plucking and sweeping the pianist’s hands directly across the strings of the piano. So I got myself asking what is the source of the inspiration of this instrument. And my guess is as good as yours, but I think it’s the charm of something beautiful being created from the chaos, that is random wind.
But why am I talking about this? It’s because, I just found some interesting stuff on YouTube – the recordings by the Voyager 1&2 of the sounds from planets in the solar system. And the first thing that came to my mind when I heard these recordings is that even planets can be like Aeolian Harps. And what a nice analogy it is – interaction of solar wind on the planets magnetospheres releases ionic particles with an audible vibration frequency, which is then translated to sounds.
So what I found on YouTube was some tracks from the famous album “Symphonies of the Planets”, which is a recording of the sounds from planets Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and their moons. Sadly it’s hard to find new CD’s of the recordings as they’re out of print, but you can find some used ones for an affordable price here. But enough of blabbering and let’s listen so some of these creepy recordings.