Want to listen to a poor quality, out-of-tune rendition of a famous melody when driving your car? No need for an expensive car stereo, a singing road can do this using wheel vibrations.
If you drift off the side of a road and hit a rumble strip, you’ll get a distinctive sound intended to alert you and prevent an accident. The pitch of the sound you get depends on the spacing between the bumps or ridges. So if you make lots of ridges like a rumble strip and vary the spacing between the ridges correctly, then different musical notes can be made. Close together ridges (say 6mm apart) give high notes, and far apart ridges (say 12mm apart) give low notes. Make the right pattern of ridges then as a car drives over them, a tune is played. Mind you, in most cases the sound quality is pretty poor, and if the car is at the wrong speed it sounds even worse. Rather amusingly, when Honda tried to create such a road for an advert, they got the spacing wrong and so their version of the William Tell Overture was very out of tune. Here is my acoustic analysis of the road.
Videos of musical roads in USA, South Korea, Japan and Denmark
In City of Lancaster, USA, the road is found along the westbound stretch of Avenue G between 30th and 40th Streets West. It was moved from its original site following concerns about noise disturbing nearby houses.
Alternatively, the Japanese have the most melody roads: twelve listed here. Suggested optimum driving speed is 28mph (45km/h). Those shown on the map are:
Hokkaido: drive west
Route 370, Wakayama prefecture, plays Miagetegoran Yorunohoshiwo
Numata-shi, Gunma prefecture, plays “Natsuno Omoide (Summer Memories)”
The road in Anyang, Gyeonggi, South Korea is meant to play Mary Had a Little Lamb when driving at 100 Km/h and was designed to help motorists stay alert. However, the videos I have heard all sound pretty terrible and the tune is unrecognizable.
Singing sand dunes can create loud drones during avalanches.
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(Your tablet ot computer loudspeakers may fail to reproduce this low frequency sound).
Some sand dunes make a strange low frequency humming sound a bit like the drone of a distant propeller aircraft. The sound can be surprisingly loud: in some cases it can be heard many kilometres away. This is something that has been known about for centuries: Marco Polo, the Emporer Baber and Charles Darwin all wrote about it . For instance, Marco Polo wrote about his encounter in the Gobi Desert “[the singing sands] at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms.”
The sound is rather unusual and eerie – reminiscent of a bass musical instrument. The drone is caused by a synchronised avalanche of the sand grains. The pitch of the note produced depends on the size of the grains – and so each singing sand dune has its own distinctive voice pitch. But the exact reason for the grain synchronisation is still being argued about among scientists.
Consider safety as you’ll be visiting a desert in the height of summer. About thirty dunes around the World boom. The large dunes most reliably sing in the summer when the grains are dry. Small dunes tend not to sing. As the videos show, you can start the avalanche yourself: once the sound has started it can continue for sometime after you stop pushing the sand. Do this on the leeward face of the dune (the side sheltered from the wind). The dune needs to be steeper than about 30 degrees.
Below is a list of locations gleaned from the Internet – it would be wise to check with locals about the exact locations.
Atlantic Sahara desert around Laayoune, Ghord Lahmar dune near Foum Agoutir, Morocco . (Also Erg Ezzahar or screaming dunes)
Kelso Dunes near California’s Mojave Desert, off the Kelbaker Rd, north of Highway 40 between Barstow and Needles, Ca, USA 
Kelso, Sand Mountain (20-21 miles east of Fallon, Nevada on Highway 50, USA 
Crescent Dunes (about 15 miles west of Tonopah, Nevada, USA 
Dumont Dunes (60 miles north of Kelso, Ca, USA 
Big Dune (Amaragosa Valley, south of Beatty, Nevada, USA 
Eureka Dunes (Hanging Rock Rd, out of Bishop, Ca, USA 
40 km southwest of Doha, Qatar
La Mar de Dunas and El Cerro Bramador, Copiapo, Chile
The Dune of Altynemel (“The Singing Dune”) in the valley of Ili River near Kapchagay, Kazakhstan
Near Liwa, South of the United Arab Emirates. In area known as the Empty Quarter
Dunes of Badain Jarin, Inner Mongolia, China
Dune Ming Sha Shan, The Mount of Singing Sand, DunHuang, Gansu, China