Random Borrowing #9: Wood

The random library item for the day was Wood in Australia by Keith R. Bootle.


This is an incredible book that describes every conceivable thing related to wood (as a material) that you could possibly think of. It’s nice to know that such a book exists, even though I don’t usually make stuff from wood. If I did make things using wood, I’d buy this book.

Just after the section on the best varieties of wood for use in the construction of Lottery Marbles,


is a section on the types of wood used to make a selection of musical instruments. This is the most obvious link from this book to music composition. But I’m sure I can find more interesting and obscure links.

As a Reference

The book is an encyclopaedic reference on all things related to wood. Apart from the definitive music enclopedia – Groves – the most encyclopaedic book I own is Berlioz’s Treatise on Orchestration and Schoenberg‘s Fundamentals of Music Composition. Although there are harmony ones too. It is interesting that there is much written about Harmony, a fair bit about Orchestration, a little about melody, and very little about rhythm (that I’ve found, anyway).

Wood As a Material

Wood is a material used to make stuff. It is a very basic construction material.

Music is made of forms, harmonies, melodies, rhythms, timbres, instrument, and perhaps most basically, sounds. Although, not all sounds could be called music, all music can be called sound. Let’s use wood as a metaphor for a kind of sound.

I reckon almost any sound could be used to make music. Maybe I should attempt to find a sound that cannot be used to make music. Something horrible like fingernails on a blackboard would be difficult to use but would be an interesting challenge.

The outline of the book would be interesting if you replaced the word wood or timbre with sound.


 A book like this about sound would be very useful. A DAW would be a “Reconstituted sound product”. Sections on Sound Processing, Colour Changes in Sound, Destroyers of Sound would all be quite interesting. I’m not sure what the destroyers of sound are, but I’d love to find out.

At least now I know this book exists. If I ever need any hard-to-get knowledge about wood, I know where to find it.