Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart plans to bring the sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge to life on May 27th, as part of the bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration. While the Golden Gate Bridge is not exactly a playable instrument, Hart maintains that it’s actually a giant wind-harp. “The Golden Gate Bridge vibrates from its toes (earth, water) to its thighs (pillars of cement and steel), to its torso and crown (air, sky),” said Hart, in a press release for the event. “We have created a musical soundscape based on the real sounds of the bridge.”
Hart soundscaped the bridge’s various vibrations by taking data collected from accelerometers, which his team placed over the bridge’s span. They then converted that information into sound waves in a process called sonification, which Hart has also used to transform intergalactic events and objects in space into identifiable sounds. He’s been dropping those results into songs that he’s been playing with the Mickey Hart Band, which also features Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools on bass. Their current album, Mysterium Tremendum, was built around the sonification of planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae.
On Sunday, Hart will perform the Golden Gate Bridge composition in the shadow of the bridge itself, as part of the Golden Gate Festival. For the free performance, Hart’s band will back him as heperforms on a 23-foot, stainless steel replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, named Bridget, which he commissioned a team of engineers from San Francisco’s Exploratorium to create for him. Using triggers placed throughout the model, Bridget will precisely reproduce sounds that, in some way, the Golden Gate Bridge sings everyday.
The Mickey Hart Band will take the stage at 9:50 p.m., after a fireworks display.