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This gigantic machine uses 2,000 marbles to make sweet, sweet music

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:13PM EST
Wintergatan Marble Music Machine Viral Video
Image: Wintergatan

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Lou Reed had Metal Machine Music. Musician and inventor Martin Molin has Marble Machine Music. Molin, who is a member of Swedish musical act Wintergatan, has designed a gigantic machine that is an enormously complex music box that circulates around 2,000 marbles through a series of chutes and directs them to fall on particular vibraphone bars, bass guitar strings and percussion pieces. If you have a hard time imagining what I’m talking about, you’ll need to check out the video below because the end product is absolutely incredible.

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Here is the full video:

Let’s look at how this works on a piece-by-piece basis.

It starts off when the performer begins turning the machine’s main crank, which sets wheels into motion that move several marbles up to the top of the machine:

Once the marbles are in place, the performer then pulls a lever to start them falling onto different vibraphone bars. The order in which the marbles fall is determined by a pinned cylinder that opens up different slots that are located directly above the vibraphone bars:

As mentioned earlier, the marbles not only fall on vibraphone bars…

…but also on bass guitar strings…

…and electronic percussion pads…

The complexity of this machine is awe inspiring. It boggles my mind how much work had to have gone into it to design a cylinder with pins that are spaced at just the right distance from one another to not only create a proper melody on the vibraphone, but also the accompanying bass and percussion parts.

You can learn more about this amazing machine at Wintergatan’s official website here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.