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Listen To The Music of San Francisco’s Wave Organ


If your plans for 2015 include some road trips, consider visiting San Francisco’s wave organ to experience that music is truly everywhere if you’re willing to listen.


Located on a man-made jetty off the city’s marina, this piece of art uses the movement of the waves to make music. Put your ear to one of the “organ pipes” and you can hear the low notes that make a wonderful contrast to the light splashing of the waves. What is a special treat is that the sounds are always altering based on the strength of the tide and the movement of the water once inside the pipes. It is almost as if every day brings a new concert! To get a sense of the sound, we’ve included a YouTube video from a visitor. We hear the music is wonderfully strong and vibrant at high tide.


The wave organ was created in 1986 by artists  Peter Richards and George Gonzalez for science museum Exploratorium. The pipes are made from PVC pipes and concrete while the structure and seating are made from remaining parts from a demolished cemetery as well as recycled curbstones from the city, which give visitors a sense of being among ancient ruins.


In 2010, Richards told Exploratorium TV about how he visits his artwork: “If I give myself five minutes, I find that my blood pressure drops and my hearing becomes more acute and I become a part of the soundscape … Your body and your psyche relaxes and fits in to what’s there.”


To learn more about experience the wave organ, visit the SF Weekly, Exploratorium TV and Atlas Obscura.


Happy travels!


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