AA Inter 3

Hydraulophonic Nilometer by jovanovicstefan
October 12, 2012, 12:05 pm
Filed under: 2012-13

Hydraulophonic Nilometer

‘Some men wear their sins on their face,’ said Bishop Vasco, lolling in his chair, sweating freely despite the fringed canopy shading him from the molten sun and the work of two boy-slaves with feather fans.

Ignoring the bishop’s comment, Luis Quinn returned to his previous thoughts, “Bishop, could you tell me what that obelisk is, the one protruding from the water? Does it have anything to do with this melody we hear every so often?”
“Well it’s for the,” started the Bishop, but something caught in his throat before he could finish the sentence, “no one really knows where it came from or why it’s here, but what it does has become rather common knowledge now, although very few know how to operate its mechanism.”
“What mechanism?” asked Luis Quinn.
“Oh father, you really don’t know anything do you? A long time ago temples were built in order to re-establish the social and political consensus and the ethos of a people. They were monumental structures that only priests could gain access to as I am sure you know. In places where the great rivers of the world were prone to flooding, these temples often housed a kind of measuring device called the nilometer. Yes, this you must have heard of. Well that obelisk that you see is in a way a nilometer, but also much more than that. Whoever designed that, clearly intended for it to minimally obstruct the view of the horizon, but instead made sure that it would be heard from anywhere within a league’s radius of the temple.
Very few, however, have seen the mechanism that operates inside the obelisk. It looks like a klepsydra but is actually a hydraulophone; its base is at the level of the sea bed, and rises all the way up above the surface of the water. As the water level rises, different melodies are heard, the sound is the output, the activation of the instrument. You’ll notice water gushers at different heights along the obelisk. Each section, if you will, is designated for a different species, and the sound produced from each one is acoustically linked to the hearing ability of that species. The heights at which the gushers are placed, are determined by the range of danger of a flood approaching. The higher the water level, and the higher the anticipation of a coming flood, the louder and more chaotic the melody will be, whereas the undulating symphonies you have been listening to all day are merely the minimal hourly fluctuations of the river…nothing to worry about,” and with that the bishop was interrupted by a third voice.

“The women?’ said the royal judge Rafael Pires de Campos.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: