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Stunning Handcrafted Wooden Music Machine Uses 2,000 Marbles and 3,000 Parts

Do you know what it requires to dedicate over a year of your life to making a massive, one-of-a-kind instrument that is as striking in its scope as it is in its beauty? Yeah, you better believe it, you need a lot of guts.

And balls, you need 2,000 balls.

This wooden, hand-cranked machine is the creation of Martin Molin of Sweden, who also composed the music for it, and it is quite simply breathtaking both as a musical device and as a feat of engineering. For 14 months, starting in November of 2014, Molin built this beautiful machine that uses over 3,000 parts and 2,000 marbles to play its own wonderful song.

Though he calls it a marble machine, this is really an instrument, as it requires Molin to not only continuously crank the whole thing (it slows to a stop when he doesn’t), but also manipulate the machine, either through its handful of levers, or the strings on its bass guitar. The song made of marbles isn’t just one repeating section of a melody either — it has its own breakdown, crescendo, and changing tempos. It is a complete composition.

The music is primarily produced by marbles playing its vibraphone, which then enter a funnel to be reused by the machine (the marbles move on a conveyor belt). There is also a cymbal and a snare to go along with the bass, all played by marbles.

This is so intricate and impressive it’s  hard to wrap your head around it (I needed to watch it multiple times to have a rough idea of how it was working, plus I really dig the song). So we have a number of screen grabs from the video, which was made and edited by Hannes Knutsson, in our gallery below, to help you sort out just how the whole thing functions.

Molin also shared a making-of teaser for the final music video, which you can see below. Even the start of the process is incredibly impressive.

If that’s not enough for you, Molin also documented the making of the machine with a series of videos about its creation, where you can get an idea about how he made specific parts and worked to tighten everything up along the way. You get a chance to see how the giant main wheel was made, as well as the the lifting mechanism, the flywheel that helps keep the time, and the kick drum.

Now he just needs to figure out how to get it out of that shop and safely bring it on tour so we can see it in person.

What’s the most impressive part about this machine? We know it’s crazy awesome, but keep your marbles so you can tell us your thoughts below.

Images: Wintergatan/YouTube


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