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A Symphony of Truck Horns


The game is over, the parties are over, and Detroit is cleaning up today. Super Bowl XL is in the books. And, rather than recap the game or the halftime show or the television ads, we thought we'd take a few minutes to bring you the sounds of an event that didn't get a lot of attention.


Alexander Pollack is the architect of the city of Detroit. Last November on this program, he described his big idea, perfectly suited for a Super Bowl in Motor City -- musical trucks. The inspiration, he said, came from listening to a group of big rigs on the street.

Mr. ALEXANDER POLLACK (Architect): Once in awhile they would hit a perfect triad with these horns, so I always remembered that and I thought, why shouldn't we be able to tune these horns to a specific pitch and set up a series in a harmonic scale on a semi truck to be able to play a melody?

SIEGEL: Pollack had hoped the trucks could play at Ford Field, but they weighed too much, and security didn't want them to block the entrances to the stadium.

BLOCK: But the show did go on away from the game, and our microphones were there to capture the sounds of the Motor City played on truck horns. Remember, you heard it here first.

(Soundbite of truck horns playing Stop, in the Name of Love)

SIEGEL: At the performance, Pollack explained the mechanics of these diesel powered musical instruments.

POLLACK: You have to have 13 horns on each truck, with a few incidental horns to be able to play the tunes that you are now performing. And, we can play most any song by now.

BLOCK: And, when he said any song, he meant it.

(Soundbite of truck horns playing NPR theme music)

BLOCK: The sounds of a symphony of truck horns, this past weekend, in Detroit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.