Martin Molin’s Machine Makes Marvelous Music with Marbles

Over the course of years, as the music developed, so have the instruments. Sure, beside the conventional, there have been some unconventional instruments, like theremin, hyperbass flute, or even singing ringing tree. As complex as it may seem, they don’t even come close to the Wintergatan Marble Machine . This love child of a music box and a vintage printing press, created by the Swedish musician Martin Molin, brings a Dr Who feel in, with the marbles rolling.


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This hand-cranked machine uses 2.000 steel marbles to play a number of instruments. Watch as those marbles go one after other, creating a brand new beat, a brand new song. Hypnotizing, isn’t it?


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Just imagine those instruments you can play with your 10 fingers, two arms and two legs. Then think about how many instruments you could cover with 2.000 marbles. Forget the one-man band, you would be a one-man orchestra. Sounds cool. Combination of cymbals, xylophone, vibraphone and even a bass guitar makes it sound like one of Deep Purple orchestral concerts!


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With a set of pulleys and switches, you can create electronic music, or slap da bass into some funk!


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And to top that – its loops are programmed using LEGO parts! That brings some memories, doesn’t it? Back when we were kids…


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Even so, this is no small feat. At first, Martin thought this project would take him about two months. Due to its complexity, it took him a wee bit longer, some 14 months. After all, 3.000 parts is a lot. And creating them by hand took a while. One earlier version had its parts designed by 3D software. However, Martin felt it was easier creating needed parts on the fly. And that kind of dynamics and improvisations led to this… well, I can’t say steampunk look, can I?


Lost your marbles? This might help you find them!

So, what do you think if Martin started touring? That would be cool, right? But, like I said, it would be an orchestra, and it takes time and space. In order to move the Wintergatan Marble Machine, it needs to be completely disassembled. Unfortunately, the only way to listen to it, for now, would be Martin’s You Tube channel. There, you could also see how the machine works.


Screenshots taken from Martin Molin’s YouTube.

Aleksandar Tolić

Aleksandar Tolić

Hello, my name is Aleksandar. I’m an electrical engineer (a really creative and an alluring profession, wouldn’t you say?). Working as a translator, with a wide range of interests, I can offer some interesting, as well as diverse articles.

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