Swedish Musician Turns 2,000 Marbles into Music

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Swedish musician Martin Molin, 33, spent a year on a machine that turns marbles into part of a musical instrument. He spent 14 months working on the instrument that plays both melody and rhythm.

Martin Molin, 33, lead musician of Swedish band, Wintergarten, debuted the Wintergatan Marble Machine earlier this year to an outpouring of amazement and praise from the public.

Martin Molin and his Wintergatan marble machine
Martin Molin and his Wintergatan marble machine

The Marble Machine is a hand-cranked music box loaded with instruments including a circuit of 2,000 cascading steel marbles. As the devices cycles it activates a vibraphone, bass, kick drum, cymbal and other instruments that play a score programmed into a 32 bar loop comprised of LEGO technic parts. The marbles are moved internally through the machine using funnels, pulleys, and tubes.

Molin officially unveiled his “Marble Machine” on Feb. 29 with a YouTube video featuring an original instrumental composition.

“It follows a long tradition of marble machines that ‘play with physics’”, Molin explains, except his marble machine “differs in the way that you can program how the marbles are falling.”
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Molin began work on the marble machine in August 2014 and hoped to spend about two months on the project. Its complexity soon spiraled out of control as all 3,000 internal parts had to be designed and fabricated by hand, a time-consuming process that eventually took 14 months.

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The Swedish musician was inspired to build his machine after visiting a museum with mechanical instruments in Utrecht, Netherlands.

280716-Wintergatan_Marble_Machine_and_Martin_MolinDespite the extreme interest an oddity like the Wintergatan Marble Machine is bound to generate—especially on the internet—don’t expect to see it on tour anytime soon, as the contraption has to be completely disassembled to move it. Molin hopes to build additional music devices, some smaller, or perhaps more suited for transport.

Feature image (on Top) Martin Molin in Liseberg amusementpark, Gothenburg

Swedish Musician Turns 2,000 Marbles into Music, written by Admin