Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Think that You Will Be Amused by Our Collection of Musical Clocks

So I've been very busy lately, but I really wanted to start blogging regularly again, now that I have a lot of free time, but I haven't really got anything to say this morning, so I thought that instead of saying anything I would just share with you some videos from the website of Utrecht's Museum Speelklok, "The most cheerful museum in the Netherlands," which it very well may be!

Here is a link to all of their videos; I suggest that you employ a friend to press Play on each video, and that you then listen to each tune whilst dancing around the room holding a small, patient housecat (e.g.). Then you can go back and watch the individual mechanisms at work. The mechanical ingenuity is the most remarkable part of most of these devices, although some really great music has been written for mechanical instruments. Think of Mozart writing tiny masterpieces for musical clocks, or Ligeti (inspired by Nancarrow's example) arranging his music for the barrel organ. I believe Swatch once commissioned a chime from Philip Glass. What tune is this thing playing, though? It's lovely:

Here's a most charming little organ playing the old-timey French tune, "Est-ce Mars":

Here's one where robot fingers play a wheel of violins:

Wow! Still sounds better than the strings on Renee Fleming's last record. Ooh and here's a REALLY fancy one. Who wouldn't want to hear THIS every hour?
And here's one where AUGHHHHH

Okay Utrecht WHAT THE FUCK.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more tomorrow, maybe.



Blogger Dan Johnson said...

JoJo found this link, by the way, which would be immediately obvious to anyone who has ever met us.

August 8, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sure. If it comes form the Nerdylands it had to be Jojo :)


August 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Grrg said...

Hey! In your list of famous composers' pieces for mechanical instruments, don't forget Beethoven's "Wellington's Victory" written for Maelzel's Panharmonicon.

Oh wait a sec. I made a mistake. DO forget "Wellington's Victory." Forget it as hard as you can.

August 8, 2010 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Ninox said...

Thank you; all my worries disolved instantly.

August 8, 2010 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Tyger Tyger said...

August 15, 2010 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Oh, that's just Black Piet, Sinterklass' special helper moor. Good little Dutch children get monkey heads, bad ones get mice.

September 13, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

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