An Italian Composer is Assembling a Symphony Orchestra Full of Only Robots

Friday, 22 June 2018 - 6:30PM
Technology
Robotics
Friday, 22 June 2018 - 6:30PM
An Italian Composer is Assembling a Symphony Orchestra Full of Only Robots
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YouTube/Leonardo Barbadoro
When you think of "futuristic instruments" you probably think of synthesizers just like most other people (even if they've been popular since the 1980s).

But for an Italian electronic musician named Leonardo Barbadoro, synths aren't quite the sound he wants for his next project. Which is why he's attempting to put a new spin on "futuristic instruments" by creating an album with entirely robotic musicians.

The instruments - saxophones, clarinets, pianos, a sousaphone - are all normal fare, but he's attaching all of them to robotic devices which can potentially play them just as well as any human. It doesn't quite look like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation playing a violin solo, but it's still impressive. You can see a sample of the music machines below:



He's still in the Kickstarter stage of his album, entitled Musica Automata, and it's ambitious: the full robot orchestra has 50 members, and he can control each of them from his laptop. This way, despite being nearly electronic music as we know it, it'll sound as close as possible to a full human orchestra. 

Most of the robots come from the Logos Foundation, a Belgian organization which has been working with robot concerts for over 20 years. Barbadoro got in touch with them back in 2014, and has been working on this album since then, and he's even constructed a few new ones himself, including one which plays a Persian string instrument. 

Assuming the Kickstarter campaign goes well, Barbdoro is hoping to get the album released sometime in 2019. It'll be an especially unusual sort of electronic music, since it won't sound like electronic music at all. There won't be any theremins or Blade Runner styled synths to give it a futuristic sound, but that's the point: we have robots playing these instruments today.

Even if they are controlled by a computer, and even if they aren't quite as intelligent as Data during his musical performances.

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