You are currently browsing the daily archive for 05/03/2014.

Following on from our recent forays into the world of music, looking at pieces entitled ‘Stonehenge’, comes a timely piece from the BBC, concerning acoustic research by London’s Royal College of Art upon the stones in the Preseli Hills, the source of the Stonehenge bluestones.

With this study, thousands of stones along the Carn Menyn ridge were tested and a high proportion of them were found to “ring” when they were struck. 

“The percentage of the rocks on the Carn Menyn ridge are ringing rocks, they ring just like a bell,” said Mr Devereux, the principal investigator on the Landscape and Perception Project. 

“And there’s lots of different tones, you could play a tune. In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks.”

A Lithophone made of Phonolite in the botanic garden in Schellerhau (Germany) - Creative Commons

A Lithophone made of Phonolite in the botanic garden in Schellerhau (Germany) – Creative Commons

A musical instrument where stones are used as an acoustic device is known as a ‘lithophone‘, or sometimes as a ‘stone marimba’. Though we’re not entirely sure that something of the size of Stonehenge could quite qualify for that name!

Stone marimba (from Emil Richards Collection) - Creative Commons

Stone marimba (from Emil Richards Collection) – Creative Commons

And a brief message for all our Cornish readers: Gool Peran Lowen! Happy St Piran’s Day!

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