The Musical Freeway – Is It Photo-Shopped? + More Musical Roads
Have you heard or seen this image of the musical freeway? Find out more about it and other musical roads in this post.
Since I moved to LA, I’ve been looking for things to do and see, and when I found this picture on Pinterest, and saw that it was located in LA I had to investigate! I thought it was so neat, and wanted to go drive on this musical freeway!
Is the musical highway real?
Unfortunately, word on the web is that the picture is in fact photo-shopped and when I checked this out, it’s true. There is no musical highway in California. I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be able to travel on it the way I can on other roads for my excursions out on weekends! What a big disappointment!
I decided to see what I could learn about other musical roads that might actually be real.
Locations of Other Musical Roads
While the image of the musical freeway shown above is photo-shopped, there are other roads in the USA and elsewhere in the world that are described as Musical Roads, including one that is located in California. Here is some info on other musical highway locations.
The Melody Road – Japan’s musical road
When a bulldozer driver in Japan accidentally scraped some markings into a road and drove over them, he realized it was possible to make tunes, depending on how deep and far apart the grooves were.
In 2007, the Hokkaido National Industrial Research Institute re-invented the drivers designs to create the Japan music road. The result is a Melody Road that made close grooves produce high pitches and widely spaced grooves produce lower pitches.
There are now many stretches of Melody Roads in Japan. One of these roads, in Okinawa, produces the Japanese folk song “Futami Jowa” As of 2016, there were over 30 Melody Roads in Japan.
The Singing Road – One of Several South Korea Musical Roads
This road was created by cutting grooves in the ground similar to the Japanese Melody Road. The purpose of the road in Korea was to keep drivers awake instead of attracting tourists as the Japanese road was intended.
The Korean Singing Road plays the tune “Mary had a Little Lamb” and took four days to construct.
There are other singing roads in South Korea now as well.
The Civil Music Road – Lancaster, California
California’s musical road is not the musical highway pictured above but another road. This road was originally built in Lancaster, California in 2008. It covered 1/4 mile and used grooves cut into the road which played part of the Finale of the William Tell Overture when driven on.
The Civil Music Road made audible vibrations that were heard when traveling by car. The vibrations were transmitted through the wheels and frame of car, and they came out in different pitches, making it a “musical” road.
When nearby residents complained to the city about noise levels, the road was paved over. This resulted in more complaints about the road’s removal and a rebuild of the road.
The Lancaster music road video above gives an idea of the sound.
Work began again a few months after its removal on a road nearby that was two miles from any residences. This road is named after the Honda Civic and is featured in Honda commercials. Unfortunately, while the rhythm is recognizable, the music now bears only a slight resemblance to the William Tell Overture.
The Singing Highway – The Netherlands
The singing highway was constructed near the village of Jelsom in Friesland, Netherlands. It plays the Friesland provincial anthem if drivers observe the speed limits. If they don’t, the song plays off key.
The Asphaltophone was created in 1995 in Gylling, Denmark, by two Danish artists. Raised pavement marks are spaced on at intermittent intervals so that when vehicles drove over them the vibrations caused by the wheels could be heard inside the car.
Musical Road – New Mexico
A two mile stretch of road was installed in 2014 in Tijeras, New Mexico on US Route 66. It plays America the Beautiful when a vehicle drives over it. This road is NM 333 and is funded by the National Geographic Society.
In this road, they put metal plates in the road and poured asphalt over it.
Would you like a reminder of these musical highways? Just pin this image to one of your trivia boards on Pinterest.
The neat thing about these roads is why they were built – for the people. Some were built to help drivers stay awake, and some of the music in these roads can only be heard at certain speeds, encouraging the drivers to obey the speed limit. All are interesting bits of trivia about our musical world.
I know I’m excited about The Civil Music Road in Lancaster, CA. since it is fairly nearby. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go to them all!
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in September of 2013. I have updated the post to add more information, a video and new images.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."