The One-Man-Band has been Perfected in the Wintergatan Marble Machine
Martin Molin Proves All You Need is Imagination with His Beautifully Complex Music Machine
Martin Molin is a musician as well as an imaginative inventor, deft fabricator and an ingenious mathematician. Over the past couple of years he has been documenting his build of a unique machine which enables him to play the equivalent of 3 (or more) instruments at once. The machine is built from birch ply-wood and can play a full drum-set, a bass guitar and vibraphone at once. Notes are struck using falling marbles and modulated my Martin’s hand. Its like 22 Rube Goldburg machines working as one system!
The real magic is all the math and engineering which went into the design. The machine is gear-driven, and the marble action is sort-of like a music box, teeth on a belt engage arms which release the balls. Each ball drops in a specific spot to actuate a vibraphone note, drum sound or a bass string. Martin has perfectly (and amazingly) calibrated the distance of the falling marble and the multiple gear ratios into the song’s timing.
In addition to the machines amazing musical timing, each component of the machine has been fine tuned to create the perfect sound. See how he creates the snare drum sound with a percussive microphone and a small box of rice!
We could spend hours talking about this machine and wouldn’t do it any justice You gotta see it to appreciate it!
Photo: Samuel Westergren
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