A Sound as of Sighs

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
…All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
…All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free 
~”Blackbird” The Beatles

The year is 1990. You are Lars Widenfalk, a Swedish artist working on some decorative features of an Oslo building. These decorative features are made from diabase, a black plutonic rock composed of a fine (but dense) crystalline structure. And as you assemble these fine sculptural pieces in Oslo, you notice something striking. Quite literally striking, in fact. When the stone is struck by hammer and chisel, is creates a rich, bell-like sound.

You are Lars Widenfalk, and you are about to ask yourself a question that will shape your life for the next two years:

If the earth could sing, what would it sound like?

Widenfalk set out to answer this question, armed with a crazy idea and a chunk of diabase from his grandfather’s headstone. Widenfalk began sculpting a violin from the stone, piece by piece. When grandpapa’s headstone proved too small a chunk of diabase for the entire piece, Widenfalk went out to the Swedish province of Härjedalen to cut him some more. Finishing the interior with real gold, and fitting the exterior with black ebony (finger board, pegs, tailpiece, and chin-rest) and mammoth ivory (the bridge, acquired from a Russian artist with the taiga contacts to get the goods), in just two years, Widenfalk had created the Blackbird:

The Blackbird’s belly is a mere 2.5 mm thick at its thinnest point. Its ribs were made in one piece. A 30 mm plate was sawed out of the diabase block, with a water-drill and hand tools being used to remove the inside carefully, leaving the stone only a few millimeters thick. In the end, the completed Blackbird weighed just 2 kg.

And it’s made entirely of stone (and mammoth). Amazing.

Of course, the question remains. If the earth could sing, what would it sound like? Turns out, she might sound a little bit like this:

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