Forest Symphony


photo: shiro takatani

Project summary

“Trees convert sunlight to energy through photosynthesis, meaning they are a genius at capturing electromagnetic waves. I want to turn that nature’s cycle into music.” Ryuichi Sakamoto Sakamoto had always been deeply intrigued by forests and trees…following the Great East Japan Earthquake, this intrigue transformed into a concrete form of artistic expression; the Forest Symphony project. Forest Symphony spurred from the idea of shifting human eyes to the forest and the environment which man lives in. The project and its technical development efforts are being undertaken in collaboration with the YCAM InterLab of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] and its outputs will be presented as installations and on the website as an art project. This project has developed an original device dedicated to measuring the bioelectric potential of trees, working around the concept of taking this gathered data and Sakamoto converting it to music; a symphony played by trees in forests from around the world. In addition to its exhibition as an installation, the purpose of this project is to gather worldwide data and YCAM has opened the initiative to the public as an open source so that tool kits for gathering trees’ bioelectric potential can be delivered to those wishing to collaborate. Also, we will publish the data of the bioelectric potential gathered from trees around the world. Official website:

Important Notes

We have selected this method of the measuring of the bioelectric potential, data analysis and recording technique in consideration of ease of maintenance on this project. Therefore, information browsing of user kit manual, trouble caused by the user kit use and about usefulness and accuracy of data acquisition, YCAMInterLab can not assume the responsibility at all.”

Amplifier shield overview

YCAM InterLab have developed the Arduino shield for measuring the bioelectric potential of trees of the amplifier shield for production of the artwork of Forest Symphony in cooperation with Sensignal Co.,Ltd.. We will publish amplifier shield circuit diagram, parts list and Gerber format data in this website. This project uses the same amplifier shield for gathering all of data used the artwork at YCAM. Also, we will sell the amplifier shield in a limited quantity for those who are interested.

Data release

This project ‘Forest Symphony’ has published the bioelectric potential data collected from a total of 24 trees, 5 locations of Japan (of which 3 locations at Yamaguchi city) and 3 locations of abroad. Collection period of the data will plan from May 2013 to May 2014.

Location and tree species

Data acquisition by API

download data files

License information

Circuit diagram Data, Garbar format data and Parts list

Creative Commons License Amplifier shield circuit diagram, Parts list, Gerber format data by YCAM InterLab is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Bioelectric potential data

CC0 To the extent possible under law, YCAM InterLab has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to bioelectric potential data from trees in ‘Forest Symphony’.

Arduino sketch, processing sample sketch

YCAMInterLab publishes license of providing some codes under the Apache License Version 2.0.

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