In 2012, creative director Morihiro Harano and his team at Mori Inc., Harano’s company, joined forces with carpenter Mitsuo Tsuda and sound engineer Kenjiro Matsuo to create a giant xylophone in a forest. No, this isn’t a Studio Ghibli film.
Together, the team achieved their goal; the xylophone was elevated above the ground and descended through the forest in a straight line. A small rubber ball was to be placed at the top, and one would let it fall freely down, slowly plunking each wooden panel and thus playing a famous little tune. You may have heard of it – Bach’s Cantana 147? The tempos and instrumental subtleties were included, and mixed with the natural sounds of the environment going about its business on either side; in all recordings, you can hear water, wind, flora and fauna engaging with the scenery.
Described as a wooden symphony, the piece provided calmness and consistency to Japan after a monster earthquake hit the nation in 2011; the most notable video of the xylophone was filmed the same day as the quake, and has over 15 million views. The installation was moved to the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden, as part of the Hokkaido Garden Show. Visitors are able to purchase their own rubber ball and send it down the xylophone, but not on a rainy day; the wooden boards succumb to rot, and so are not available for viewing when the weather is dicey.
We hear that flights to Japan are cheap at this time of year (not really but we can hope), so why not just hop on over to this magical garden and listen to the most angelic xylophonic symphony since Year 6 compulsory music class.
Check it out in all its glory below: