Amazing Hand-Operated Instrument Plays With the Help of 2000 Marbles

Rebecca OConnell

It took two full years, but Martin Molin from the Swedish band Wintergatan managed to create a truly novel instrument. The large wooden machine runs with a hand-crank on the side; when the player turns the wheel, thousands of marbles inside the machine start to move. Using a conveyor system, the marbles plummet onto various sound-making objects. The majority of the sound comes from the vibraphone, which is a xylophone-like instrument that plays as the marbles fall onto the various keys. Using plugs, the player can manipulate what keys the marbles are hitting and when. 

Besides the vibraphone, there are also levers on the side that control the bass, snare, and kick drum. As the marbles hit the various instruments, they fall into funnels that bring them back into the machine for continuous play. There's also a breakdown arm, which stops the huge wheel from spinning when the user is done playing. Adorably, "Wintergatan Marble Machine" is written in wire at the bottom alongside spinning wooden stars.

You can learn more about the building process through Molin's prologue videos on YouTube.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Header images via YouTube.