If you’ve browsed the computer section of your local bookstore recently, you’ve probably noticed those distinctive books with woodcuts of animals on the cover. They’re published by a company called O’Reilly, (not affiliated with that Fox News guy) and they also double as musical instruments.
An art project shown at the The Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan shows a series of these highly-regarded technical books being made into a xylophone. The books actually make passable music, as a YouTube video shows. I noticed the book “Programming Perl” (known to Perl devotees as “The Camel Book” because it features a camel on the cover, of course) and “Online Investing Hacks,” among others.
A series of hammers strike the books, which all have different thicknesses. The hammers are apparently controlled by a MIDI device somewhere. The song is percussive, and though it won’t win a Grammy anytime soon, it’s still quite a toe-tapper, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it a book-tapper.
It’s still a very cool design and a good use of old books. O’Reilly books tend to be rather expensive, as most technical books often are. You can expect to pay around $40-50 each for a title. If you want to build up a good technical library for yourself, for example, for teaching yourself to build and maintain a Web site such as Walyou, you could set yourself back hundreds if not more. And with the way the tech market goes, skills often become obsolete and the books with them. So what better way to save your investment and save trees than to do something else with them, like making music?