Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interesting Infrastructure: Caltrans and Music Notes

These photos are from Cotati, CA in the northern bay area. As you can see, Caltrans incorporated a music note motif into their new overpass project. Since Cotati is sort of a hippie town, and also home of an annual Accordian Festival, it fits the local vibe. The motif has a treble clef sequence and a bass clef sequence, and they appear on the sound walls, the retaining walls and on the actual overpass. I alternate between thinking this is really cool and thinking it is a huge waste of money, but here are the pics anyway:
Sound wall in final stages of project
Overpass with alternating design
Retaining wall with treble clef design
Retaining wall with bass clef design
Sound wall with temporary frames to hold design in place
The local Press Democrat's Road Warrior blog investigated this and reported:
"...Leah Haygood of the landscape design firm for the 101 project, Haygood & Associates in Albany, composed the song melody. Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said the song is called 'Reaching For Center … Reaching For You.' Haygood couldn’t be reached for comment. But once on paper, not all of the notes worked visually, so some were moved up or down until they did, he said."

Note that neither "melody" has a time or key signature, so it is impossible to accurately "play" the notes. But we can make some assumptions and try to reconstruct what it is supposed to sound like. If we assume it is has a 4/4 time signature, C key signature and overlay the treble clef and bass clef, it would look something like this:
And at 90 BPM, it would sound like:
Which does not sound quite right. Clearly there is still more work to do reconstructing this melody.

LINKS:
Article with more info about the project:
http://roadwarrior.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/13483/cotatis-musical-sound-walls-overpass/

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