Its cool to see art,music, and architecture come together for locals and the world to experience. One such marvel is the musical Sea Organ, or in Croati, Morske Orgulje. The musical Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is located on the shores of Zadar, Croatia, and is the world’s first musical pipe organs that is played by the sea. Thanks to the Sea Organ music project, the inhabitants of Zadar have been restored once more to their relation with the sea. Chaotic reconstruction work undertaken in an attempt to repair the devastation Zadar suffered in the World War II turned much of the sea front into an unbroken, monotonous concrete wall. Now, the inviting white marble steps lead down to the water. Concealed under these steps, which both protect and invite, is a system of polyethylene tubes and a resonating cavity that turns the site into a huge musical instrument, played by the wind and the sea.
This masterpiece of acoustics and architecture was created by expert Dalmatian stone carvers and architect Nikola Basic in 2005, who recently received the European prize for Urban Public Space for this project. Many tourists come to listen and enjoy unforgettable sunsets with a view of nearby islands. The late Alfred Hitchcock said that the most beautiful sunset in the world can be seen from precisely this spot on the Zadar quay. That was how he described it after his visit to Zadar, a visit he remembered throughout his life by the meeting of the sinking sun and the sea.
The Sea Organ is a natural musical instrument, 70m long with 35 organ pipes built under the concrete. The musical pipes are located so that the sea water and wind movements produce musical sounds that are heard by passers by so that it achieves a communication with nature and promotes a unity of architecture and environment. As sea forces and energies are unpredictable in terms of tides and winds, this organ offers never-ending concert of numerous musical variations in which the performer is nature itself.
Each musical pipe is blown by a column of air, pushed in turn by a column of wave-moved water, through a plastic tube immersed into the water. The pipes’ musically tuned sounds emanate to the surroundings through apertures in the vertical planes of the uppermost stairs. The 7 successive groups of musical tubes are alternately tuned to 2 musically cognate chords of the diatonic major scale. The outcome of tones and/or chords is a function of random time and space distribution of the wave energy to particular organ pipes. Here is a sample of what it sounds like.
In this part of Croatia the prevailing musical tradition is the spontaneous four-voice male singing, with melodies and chords conforming to the diatonic major scale. The 5 musically tuned pipes of each section are arranged in 1.5 meter spacings. A listener, standing or sitting on a chosen point on the landmark, should be able to hear 5 to 7 musically tuned pipes play their natural music. Thus, whole 5-pipe sections are tuned to one musical chord. The citizens of Zadar are extremely proud of the first natural musical organ driven by the sea waves ever to be constructed. This installation, absolutely unique in the world, was designed to let people enjoy the point where the medieval town of Zadar truly embraces the Adriatic Sea.
What an amazing feat to build, especially given its unique history. The idea that this project brought the whole community together is a testament of love for one another in that country. Even though Zadar suffered immense destruction in WWII, they still manage to pull through. Life is too short, so be sure to play well and loud. Do something crazy like build a sea organ!? You never know…it might change the world. That’s it for today. As always..play well and play on!