Synthtopia

Richard Devine Went To Montana And Hit Rocks With A Hammer To Bring You This Free Sample Library

Synthesist and sound designer Richard Devine let us know about a free sample library that he’s created, based on samples of the Mysterious Ringing Rocks of Montana.

The Ringing Rocks are unique geological formation that features rocks that ring musically, when taped with a hammer. They are natural lithophones – instruments based on rocks that are struck. 

Visiting the Ringing Rocks apparently involves braving bad roads and the occasional bear. Fortunately, Devine made the trek and made field recordings with a Sony PCM-D100.

Here’s a track he made, featuring the field recordings:

Here’s what Devine has to say about the recordings:

Field Recordings of the Mysterious Ringing Rocks/Montana, music made with rocks. Near Butte Montana, and part of the edge of the Boulder Batholith, is a large jumbled pile of boulders, the rocks in this unique geologic formation chime melodically when tapped lightly with a crescent wrench or mallet.

It is believed that the ringing is a combination of the composition of the rock and the way the joining patterns have developed as the rocks have eroded away, though ultimately a concrete scientific explanation has yet to be arrived at. Curiously, if a boulder is removed from the pile, it no longer rings.

Slightly different pitches and timbres emanate from thousands of rocks in the formation, and in theory Butte’s Ringing Rocks could form the basic ostinato for the “Music of the Spheres.”(Musica Universalis)

Devine has created a free Kontakt library, based on his Ringing Rocks field recordings and shared it via Dropbox.