An Unknown Field: The Music of the Plants

By Xiangyu Ren, (Ruth), an international intern for WorldBeat Center from the University of Shanghai who is majoring in Physics. This is her second year in college and is exploring her potential career opportunities.

It can be hard to believe that plants have their own music, but actually they do. With a certain device, producing music by modifying the electric conductivity of leaves and roots, you can easily appreciate their voice.

For some this may be an unknown field. Plants may just seem as senseless living things for now. But when you try to understand them, you will find they can be emotional and also have feelings just like you and I.

They have intelligence to be trained. They feel upset when bad things happen. They like to be surrounded by people who appreciate them and keep silent with people who don’t treat them seriously. So you see every living thing including plants can feel and respond. Everything in the world is just the same. No one is superior or inferior than others.

 The Instrument We Use

The instrument can translated the electromagnetic variations from the surface of plant leaves to the root system into sound.

The device looks nice and is easy to use. All you need to do is turning it on, insert the steel probe into the soil near the roots of a plant or at the base of a tree and connect the spring clip to the surface of leaves which sometimes need to be moistened. The next step is to wait with patience. Just remember they are not machines so they may not always respond. A little encouragement may be needed because some of them are too shy to play. 

As I said, the instrument isn’t difficult to use but there is a story behind it which began over forty years ago. In the 1970s Damanhur, a Federation of Communities, started their journey on finding ways to communicate with the world of plants so they created an instrument. During the forty years, countless tests, many prototypes and re-workings of the basic technology were taken to refine the device. Their persistence gave us chance to hear the beautiful music of plants.

Hearing from others experience is not the same as experiencing it for yourselves. I read a book about the music of plants. Theoretically, I had fully understood it, but actually my excitement was greater when I first heard their voice, the sound of nature, which is the most purifying sound I have ever heard.

At first, I just listened. Then I tried to protrude my hand to touch them. With mild rub on the surface of leaves, the tone of the music went higher and higher. Maybe they liked the touching and tried to say hi. Their music brought the nature closer and closer. The only thing left for me is to embrace it.

Here are some videos. Follow them into the garden of WorldBeat Center to meet our marvellous plant musicians!