52 Hertz


Inspired by a rare and beautiful song emanating deep from the Pacific ocean.


The low-rumbling sound you are listening to is the voice of a hybrid blue whale, known as The Loneliest Whale. This mysterious creature sings at 52 hertz - roughly 30 Hz higher than any other cetacean - this distinction makes its song unrecognizable to other whales. Its voice, combined with an unusual migration pattern, has left the 52 Hz whale wandering alone in the open ocean since, at least, 1989, when its song was first picked up on Cold War Era sonar equipment.

Listen to the Song of 52

This is the real-time version of the Lonely Whale's unique song.


Please note: 52 Hertz is near the lowest note on a tuba, meaning the song is very low and bass-heavy. You'll need a powerful set of speakers (subwoofers as especially helpful) or a high end pair of headphones.

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Imagine roaming the world’s largest ocean year after year alone, calling out with the regularity of a metronome, and hearing no response.
— New York Times, Andrew Revkin

A research paper published in late 2004 shared the strange (and true) story of a hybrid blue whale known as the Loneliest Whale. The movements and beautiful song of this unique creature were monitored during a 12 year period by a vast network of Cold War era sonar equipment scattered about the floor of the Pacific ocean. However, its unique song made it easy for humans to track yet impossible for other whales to hear - and so, the Whale has wandered the open waters, year after year, alone. 

Habitat (Swim Tracks)

The 52-Hz whale roamed widely across the deep waters of the central and eastern portion of the North Pacific basin. Most of the tracks of this whale originated in northern waters (8 above 501N, 1 below 451N) and variably between 125W and 160W.


The Whale and the Sea

52 Hz on the BBC

A conversation with Emily Knight of BBC Earth on the wide-reaching impact of the Loneliest Whale.

An excerpt from the BBC Podcast, ‘Earth’, Episode 02, Isolation.

This week we’re taking you to the southernmost continent on the planet: Antarctica. This is where cameraman Lindsay McRae and his team spent 10 months filming emperor penguins for Dynasties. […] In this episode, you’ll also walk among silverback gorillas in the Impenetrable Forest, step into untouched caves and meet the man who finds companionship through whale song.

Photo of the Pacific by Erica Hampton