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Have You Heard California’s (Out of Tune) Musical Road?

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YouTuber Tom Scott, who introduced us to the “pinkest pink” earlier this year, recently took his viewers for a drive over Musical Road in California. This small stretch of road on a highway in Lancaster is meant to sound like the William Tell Overture when someone drives over it. Jalopnik writes that it was conceived by Honda in 2008 as a publicity stunt, but instead of sounding like the gallant William Tell Overture, it sounds like a creepy minor key tune. So what went wrong?

Scott explains that creating a song from a road isn’t too difficult since a musical note is essentially a vibration in the air. It’s almost as if one’s car is a violin bow drawing itself over the notes of the road, and it doesn’t matter if someone drives over it quickly or slowly, the notes will sound the same. Where the error lies is in the width between the grooves, which Scott explains was probably not explained well to the road crew that installed the Musical Road. Amazingly, the road was even reinstalled with the same exact mistakes in place!

Hear the out-of-tune, but still very audibly interesting piece of road in the video below.