Visitors to The Regent’s Park can listen to music under the trees, thanks to a new collaboration between The Royal Parks and the Royal Academy of Music.
Bringing together the best of nature, music, and walking, a free app will help visitors de-stress, get active, and learn about the many species of trees in one of London’s eight Royal Parks.
The geo-location app will come to life in Gloucester Gate, situated in the north-east corner of The Regent’s Park. This area of parkland is home to over 30 species of trees that include walnut, hornbeam, ash and London plane.
The initiative was the idea of The Royal Parks' Arboricultural Officer, Matt Steinmann, who wanted visitors to notice the trees that surround them in a new and interactive way. He invited students from the nearby Royal Academy of Music to compose music inspired by different species of tree, to create an immersive audio experience.
Each tree has been given a musical signature, created using acoustic instruments such as percussion, strings and woodwind, as well as electronically created sounds. Where canopies of trees overlap multiple playbacks will create a layering effect.
As people stroll through the Grade I listed landscape, the music will change dependent on the species, age and other characteristics of the trees. The app will also provide users with information about the different types of tree, the composers and the compositions.
Matt said: “I came up with the idea for Music for Trees while I was surveying trees. I tend to listen to music while I work, and sometimes the music seems a perfect accompaniment. I took the next step and imagined whether music could be composed for trees.
“If this app can make just a few people more aware of how important trees are and the benefits they bring, then I’ll be very happy. Spending time outdoors in nature can really make you feel good, so I hope visitors take the opportunity to step out of their daily lives for a little while."
Andrew Scattergood, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks said: “Combining music, nature and walking in the form of a free app is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of our capital city. Credit must be given to Matt, our arboricultural officer, who came to us with this idea and made it a reality.”
Six students from the nearby Royal Academy of Music have participated in the project. Before they produced their composition, they were given access to The Royal Parks’ tree survey records which includes details about the tree species, size, health and other qualities.
Iason Maroulis, a third year Undergraduate Composition Student at the Royal Academy of Music, said: “This project was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues in creating a new dimension to this part of The Regent’s Park, offering visitors the chance to interact with the park in a different way. The music written for the project highlights the most unique and inspiring characteristics of each individual tree.”
Visitors can download the free app from the Google play or Apple app by searching for ‘Music for Trees.’
If the app proves popular, there are plans to roll the initiative out to other Royal Parks.