Amusing Monday: Music from drops of water

It was a highly ambitious project. The idea was to turn the sounds of water — dripping, falling, flowing — into musical notes, and then record a song for everyone to hear.

When I first heard a brief sample of this “Water Rock” on KING-5 News, it was presented as one man — Shinya Kiyokawa — recording the sounds of nature. When I looked into it, I learned that the musical production involved two dozen people under the direction of Morhiro Harano, whose Japanese advertising agency produced the music video for a Sony commercial. Shinya Kiyokawa is given a “music” credit.

Take time to listen to the music in the video above. The classical composition, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, is familiar to most people, I think. But I’ll admit that I struggled at first to hear an actual song in the sounds of water. Then I listened to the first part of this music video on YouTube, and when I went back and played the water music again, every note came to life.

I appreciated this project even more after I watched another video that showed how much work went into gathering the sounds and putting the “water rock” video together. Check out “Making of ‘Water Rock.’”

So what has this got to do with the Sony corporation? Personally, I think Sony was looking for a commercial connection just to see what Morhiro Harano could do with this challenge. (Another musical video project of Morhiro’s is featured at the bottom of this page.) But here’s Sony’s explanation:

“The abundant groundwater in Kumamoto area is used by local residents and businesses alike. Kumamoto Technology Center (Kumamoto TEC) of Sony Semiconductor Corporation uses the groundwater in the fabrication of semiconductors such as high quality image sensors.

“In recent years, the groundwater level has dropped sharply, attributable to a decline in the amount of land used as rice paddies cultivation and an increase in land used for residential purposes. Since 2003, Our Kumamoto TEC has worked with local farmers, an environmental NGO, and agricultural cooperatives on groundwater recharge.

“During May to October, nearby paddy fields are filled with water drawn from a river prior to planting and/or after harvesting, causing the water to penetrate into the soil and ultimately return to the groundwater reserves. In FY 2012, we replenished approximately 2.19 million cubic meters of groundwater, which is equivalent to its water use in the same year.”

“Water Rock” has received attention from professional advertisers, including Ad Week. Reporter Tim Nudd writes “The hills were alive with the sound of music. Now, it’s the rivers.” The article gives full credit to the people working on “Water Rock” and harkens back to a previous music video by the same producer. The earlier video involves a ladderlike xylophone built down the side of a mountain. You’ll just have to see it for yourself (below).

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