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  • Rosalind Ridout

Aoelian Modes

Like many, we have turned to the natural world throughout lockdown: it has provided us respite, beauty, and a way to monitor the changing seasons. While unable to play together live or go to hear live concerts, we turned to the music of our natural environment, inspired by our ongoing project “Seeking the Aether”. When air is in motion it becomes wind. Of course we can combine this moving air with clarinets, flutes or other highly-crafted instruments, but we can also create or ‘repurpose’ instruments to help capture the sound.


In our work with Catherine Kontz, we have been exploring the different winds from around the world: from the north-easterly “Helm” wind in Cumbria, known for its will and compassion, to the warm, dry, but electric “Föhn” wind from the northern side of the Alps and North Italy, each wind comes with its own characteristics which have inspired centuries of folk tales.

We invite you to explore the air and the wind near you: how does it sound? how does it make other objects or instruments sound? how does it sound differently today compared to yesterday? how does it sound different to another local wind elsewhere in the country or world?

You may be most interested in how the air sounds in the long grass or in the trees, or how it plays an object or instrument, or you may wish to create your own wind-capturing device. You can be as creative or as crafty as you like, and here are a few suggestions:

  1. Aeolian harp and this one

  2. Wind organs

  3. Windchimes

Enjoy the moment of listening and please contribute a video to our map. Simply email us (shoalensemble@gmail.com) a video of your wind sound and let us know your location, and we’ll put it onto our online map for others to enjoy. The map will allow us to listen to winds from all around the world that we currently can’t hear in person. Here’s the map so far.


Other inspirational wind-capturers:

Aeolus at The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Singing Ringing Tree, Burnley, Lancashire

The Beetham Tower in our home-city, Manchester

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