09/02/2011 11:53 am ET Updated Nov 01, 2011

Germany's Auto Symphonic Fixation

In a few days, one of the more remarkable symphony concerts will take place in Mannheim, Germany.

Along with the Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg and the SWR Vocal Ensemble of Stuttgart eighty automobiles will contribute their signature sounds to an original musical score created by a musician who has taken his imagination on a wild ride.

I wrote about the September 10th concert, for The New York Times and what I found while researching this story is that the exceedingly talented composer Marios Joannou Elia who was commissioned to write the score to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile is not the first to consider how the automobile can be used for transport of the musical kind.

Kansas actor/composer Ric Averill has created several auto symphonies that reach a modest audience on You Tube.

Turning cars into instruments, is not unlike turning fountains into ballet dancers.

I have a soft spot for the imaginative re-purposing of vehicles. So when I stumbled upon the website of the Ephemerisle, an annual four-day event on the Sacramento River in California in which boating and life itself is creatively reinterpreted, I was charmed.

Here was a swimming tutu made of foam noodles and a Huck Finn-like raft turned into a game of coordination.

But of course, really how different is this from what I saw earlier this summer in Bangkok?

At the exhibition of royal barges, I gaped at the intricate, elaborately decorated wooden works of art dating back 800 years.

It would appear that the need to move from place to place has always led to inspired embellishment that takes the vehicle beyond the restrictive confines of purpose.

From the past into the future the constant for lovers of travel is that the most magnificent vehicle we have is right here in our heads. We can go wherever our imaginations take us.