Grand Piano And Violin-Shaped House In
China Is The Ultimate Place
For Music Lovers
Quiz #467 Results
Bookmark and Share
Quiz #467- February 28, 2015
1. Can you spot the musical instrument?
2. Where was this picture taken?
3. How does this kind of instrument work?
Comments from Our Readers
I'm singing The music goes round and around and it comes out here. (Recorded by
Tommy Dorsey)

Can I spot the instrument?  Yes and no.  On the far left side of the photograph is a
person sleeping on the steps and a photographically amputated leg.  Just behind
them on the step riser are little tiny rectangles.  Those are air intake holes that work
in conjunction with the tubes under the steps and a resonating cavity.  The wave
action and the air work together to make the music.  The music comes out of holes
in the top step, which I cant see.

There is a link on this page that lets you hear what it sounds like.  As long as it isnt
right next to ones bedroom, the sound is quite pleasant.

This sea organ is located in Zadar, Croatia.

Here in San Francisco we have a Wave Organ.  There is no comparison to the one
in Croatia.
Carol Farrant
Very haunting music -- sounds like a tuba to me.
Judy Pfaff
N. B.  Yes, I am sometimes haunted by tubas myself.  I'd like to get help, but I
can't find a psychiartrist who is also a musician. - Q. Gen.
It would be interesting to know how Nikola Basic came up with the idea.
Daniel E. Jolley
Since the picture is not of very high resolution, I figured the only logical instrument
would be the steps using the sea. Googled Google images for "musical steps
seaside". Saw a picture of the sames steps which directed me to a page on
Pinterest. The brief explanation of how the musical steps worked.
Tony Knapp
My first thought was that the steps might be a keyboard of some sort, but that
seemed unnecessarily complicated. Started to Google "sea powered instrument" got
as far as "sea powered" when the choice of "sea organ" appeared, and that was that.
Peter Norton
You would love Croatia.  I visited in mid-September several years ago.  Zadar is a
medium-sized town with several interesting churches and a city gate with the
Venetian lion, but by far the best feature is the Sea Organ.  My husband and I spent
one warm evening sitting there watching the ships going in and out of the harbor
and listening to those deep soothing tones.  Strangely, even when you are sitting
near the air inlets, the sound the organ makes seems to come from far away.

I’m sure many ancient peoples had instruments like this.  Probably not on such a
grand scale and probably not with concrete.

Have you looked at other musical structures?  I found the Regenwasserspiel of
Dresden and the Singing Ringing Tree of Burnley intriguing.
Margaret Paxton
N.B.  The Singing Ringing Tree was my back-up for this week's quiz.  Thanks
for bringing that up.  The Regenwasserspiel is also fascinating! - Q Gen.
There are several YouTube clips of it where you can hear what it sounds like. I
dunno, I think I might find it kind of annoying. Do you know the term for music
that doesn't repeat (like you hear in acupuncturists/offices)?

Jerry wants to go to Croatia, too. I hear parts of it look like Big Sur.
Tynan Peterson
You're guilty of me having a huge increase in my "must visit" bucket list. I need to
finish my opera or launch my breakthrough invention and become a billionaire now.
Speaking of which, another magical man made music place that I badly wish to
visit (no, it's not a quiz suggestion) is attached.
Ida Sanchez
I have a friend who vacationed in Croatia last fall - the photos were beautiful;
however, he did not go to Zadar.  I wrote to him just after the quiz to see.
Barbara Battles
It really is an interesting instrument! In essence it is played by Mother Nature.  
Really neat!

No idea why the Greeks and Romans didn't come up with something similar, maybe
they were too busy fighting. Visions of Spartans and Centurions come to mind - too
busy to stop and hear the music maybe? :)

Never thought about visiting Croatia until recently, but it is a place I too would like
to visit. I believe Nikola Tesla was born there.
Cindy Costigan

Congratulations to Our Winners!

MaryAnne Campbell                Tynan Peterson
Nelsen Spickard                Cindy Costigan
Barbara Battles                Angel Esparza
Julie McCormick                Margaret Paxton
Ellen Welker                Carol Gene Farrant
Judy Pfaff                Daniel E. Jolley
Edna Cardinal                Owen Blevins
Carol Stansell                Elaine C. Hebert
Tony Knapp                Ida Sanchez
Peter Norton               Gary Elder
Tish Olsehfski

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Fletchers!
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
-- Start Quantcast tag -->
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free
Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
1.  The steps are part of a Sea Organ.
2.  Zadar, Croatia
3.  The waves push air through the tubes and
musical chords sound.

How Ida Solved the Puzzle
I think I cheated in this one, since the answer to the quiz was in the
questions themselves. Googled "musical instrument in beach steps" and an
image similar to this one appeared on top, that took me to a site that held
all the answers, a few picture, and tons of info in this unique Sea Organ :

I remember, when I was a kid, that my uncle and wife had gone to
Yugoslavia (as called then) and how surprised I was to see in the video
that the beach was cemented, and the pic took me to those images
rightaway. Don't know if it's the same beach, since the organ was only
built in 2005 or if, in general, beaches in the Balkans are all sandless.

Went through a few videos and this one was particularily interesting:  It also explains that the Sea
Organ is not only a musical instrument, it also saves the energy, which is
used to create a light "salute to the sun" at dusk every day.

I could hear a very prominent G in the sound, and, when looking at the
pitches used for the pipes, it clearly leads to it, since most of it has G and
its "friends" (Ds and Bs mostly, with also Es and As, forming the G
pentatonic scale). So I wouldn't call it totally "random" but a random
selection of sounds and times in the G pentatonic scale, which will sound
a little bit oriental (note, in Eastern Europe, the B is called h, they use B
for the b flat).

Ida Sanchez
The Wave Organ is a wave-activated acoustic sculpture located on a jetty in the San
Francisco Bay. The concept was developed by Peter Richards and was installed in
collaboration with sculptor and master stone mason George Gonzales. Inspiration for
the piece came from artist Bill Fontana’s recordings made of sounds emanating from a
vent pipe of a floating concrete dock in Sydney, Australia.  

In 1980, Richards (a Senior Artist at the Exploratorium for many years) received a
planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that enabled him to conduct
an extensive period of investigation into the physicality of the Wave Organ phenomenon.

A prototype, built at the same location, was presented as part of the New Music ’81
Festival. Though very rudimentary in nature, it generated enthusiasm and support for a
permanent work. Permit acquisition and fundraising efforts by Frank Oppenheimer,
Founding Director of the Exploratorium, began soon after, but actual construction did
not start until September 1985, seven months after Oppenheimer’s death. The Wave
Organ was completed in May 1986 and was dedicated in June to the memory of Frank

The Wave Organ is located on a jetty that forms the small Boat Harbor in the Marina
district of San Francisco. The jetty itself was constructed with material taken from a
demolished cemetery, providing a wonderful assortment of carved granite and marble,
which was used in the construction of this piece. The installation includes 25 organ
pipes made of PVC and concrete located at various elevations within the site, allowing
for the rise and fall of the tides. Sound is created by the impact of waves against the
pipe ends and the subsequent movement of the water in and out of the pipes. The
sound heard at the site is subtle, requiring visitors to become sensitized to its music,
and at the same time to the music of the environment. The Wave Organ sounds best at
high tide.
Sea Organ
The San Francisco Wave Organ
The musical Sea Organ (morske orgulje)
is located on the shores of Zadar, Croatia,
and is the world’s first musical pipe
organs that is played by the sea. Simple
and elegant steps, carved in white stone,
were built on the quayside. Underneath,
there are 35 musically tuned tubes with
whistle openings on the sidewalk. The
movement of the sea pushes air through,
and – depending on the size and velocity
of the wave – musical chords are played. The waves create random harmonic sounds.

This masterpiece of acoustics and architecture was created by expert Dalmatian stone
carvers and architect Nikola Basic in 2005, who recently received the fourth ex-aequo
European Prize for Urban Public Space for this project. Many tourists come to listen to
this unique aerophone, and enjoy unforgettable sunsets with a view of nearby islands.
Famed director Alfred Hitchcock said that the most beautiful sunset in the world can be
seen from precisely this spot on the Zadar quay. That was how he described it after his
visit to Zadar, a visit he remembered throughout his life by the meeting of the sinking
sun and the sea.

The Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is is a natural musical instrument, seventy meters long
with thirty-five organ pipes built under the concrete. The musical pipes are located so
that the sea water and wind movements produce musical sounds that are heard by
passers by so that it achieves a communication with nature and promotes a unity of
architecture and environment. As sea forces and energies are unpredictable in terms of
tides and winds, this organ offers never-ending concert of numerous musical variations
in which the performer is nature itself.

Thanks to the Sea Organ music project, the inhabitants of Zadar have been restored
once more to their relation with the sea. Chaotic reconstruction work undertaken in an
attempt to repair the devastation
Zadar suffered in the World War
II turned much of the sea front
into an unbroken, monotonous
concrete wall. Now, the inviting
white marble steps lead down to
the water. Concealed under these
steps, which both protect and
invite, is a system of polyethylene
tubes and a resonating cavity that
turns the site into a huge musical
instrument, played by the wind
and the sea.

Each musical organ pipe is blown
by a column of air, pushed in turn by a column of wave-moved water, through a plastic
tube immersed into the water. The pipes' musically tuned sounds emanate to the
surroundings through apertures in the vertical planes of the uppermost stairs. The 7
successive groups of musical tubes are alternately tuned to two musically cognate
chords of the diatonic major scale. The outcome of played tones and/or chords is a
function of random time and space distribution of the wave energy to particular organ

Air Holes along the top row of steps let the Sea Organ breathe in air to be transformed
into musical sounds as the next wave plays its song. Below, the sound apertures are
visible along the center of the walkway.

In this part of Croatia the prevailing musical tradition is the spontaneous four-voice
male singing, with melodies and chords conforming to the diatonic major scale. The 5
musically tuned pipes of each section are arranged in 1.5 meter spacings. A listener,
standing or sitting on a chosen point on the scalinade, should be able to hear 5 to 7
musically tuned pipes play their natural music. Thus, whole five-pipe sections are tuned
to one musical chord. The citizens of Zadar are extremely proud of the first natural
musical organ driven by the sea waves ever to be constructed. This installation,
absolutely unique in the world, was designed to let people enjoy the point where the
medieval town of Zadar embraces the Adriatic.
The hidden structure of the musical Sea Organ, and the tuning scheme,
detailing the chords and musical notes played by the sea
To hear the Sea Organ, click here.
Watch audio slide show of the Wave Organ.  Click here.
The High Tide Organ is a tidal organ 15 metres (49 ft
3 in) tall constructed in 2002 as part of "The Great
Promenade Show" series of sculptures situated along
Blackpool's New Promenade in the UK. The artwork,
described as a "musical manifestation of the sea", is
one of a few examples of a tidal organ; others include
the San Francisco Wave Organ and the Sea Organ in

The sculpture was designed by the artists Liam
Curtin and John Gooding, and was constructed in
concrete, steel, zinc and copper sheet. The
harnessing of wave energy, and the sculpting of the
concrete and metals, is said to produce a unique
interpretation of Blackpool's natural and man-made
The Singing Ringing Tree is a wind powered sound sculpture resembling a tree set in
the landscape of the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England.

Completed in 2006, it is part of the series of four sculptures within the Panopticons
arts and regeneration project created by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts
Network (ELEAN). The project was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks,
or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), across East Lancashire
as symbols of the renaissance of the area.

Designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, the Singing Ringing
Tree is a 3-metre tall construction comprising pipes of galvanised steel which harness
the energy of the wind to produce a slightly discordant and penetrating choral sound
covering a range of several octaves. Some of the pipes are primarily structural and
aesthetic elements, while others have been cut across their width enabling the sound.
The harmonic and singing qualities of the tree were produced by tuning the pipes
according to their length by adding holes to the underside of each.

In 2007, the sculpture won (along with 13 other candidates) the National Award of the
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence.
Blackpool High Tide Organ
environments. The instrument is played by the sea at high tide through eight pipes
attached to the sea wall. These are connected under the promenade to 18 organ pipes
within the sculpture. The swell of seawater at high tide pushes air up the sea-wall pipes
and causes the organ pipes to sound. The best time to hear the High Tide Organ is two
to three hours before or after high tide. On very calm days the organ is silent for part of
its cycle. The pitches of the pipes are based on the harmonic series in B flat.

The High Tide Organ is one of a small group of musical instruments that operate
without further human intervention, among which the aeolian harp and the wind chime
are the most notable.