Self-playing violin

August 24, 2006 at 04:02 PM ·

oh my goodness....

Replies (31)

August 24, 2006 at 04:05 PM · My 9-year-old daughter observes: "It's just a record player shaped like a violin with a moving bow...."

A complex one, to be sure.

August 24, 2006 at 04:36 PM · Wow.

Of course, it's limited to even less than a MIDI can't even pluck!

I must also say that I am less impressed to see a player piano play than a piano player play...and would rather go to a concert to see a virtuoso violinist than a virtual violin. It's more impressive seeing it actually done than watching something you know can get it the same every time.

August 24, 2006 at 05:06 PM · It's a complete hoax! Email me a half million dollars and I'll make you a real one.

August 24, 2006 at 08:00 PM · There's only one thing wrong with it: It was trained in the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing and it's interpretation of the Bach Sonatas & Partitas is too romantic. Also, it's hand position is all wrong.

:) Sandy

August 24, 2006 at 08:20 PM · Oh, God, I couldn't even watch that. Totally disgusting.

August 24, 2006 at 09:05 PM · Hopefully this has advanced our understanding of robotics and can help us in other fields. If not, what a gargantuan waste of money. It's a kitchy gimmick which sounds very cheesy. I hope no government gave a grant to facilitate this research, unless it will have other benefits.

August 24, 2006 at 10:09 PM · It's a robotic parlor trick. There's nothing there at all, trust me.

August 24, 2006 at 10:43 PM · I wonder who would pay $12k for that.

August 24, 2006 at 10:46 PM · My thoughts exactly.

August 24, 2006 at 11:14 PM · He'll sell a lot of them.

August 24, 2006 at 11:38 PM · However, it might be more effective as a conductor.

August 24, 2006 at 11:51 PM · Why would someone do that?Total waste of time,energy and money...

August 25, 2006 at 12:23 AM · Here are the advantages of an automated musician:

1. It never gets tired.

2. It plays exactly what it has learned.

3. It never forgets.

4. It doesn't get frustrated.

5. It doesn't have to be paid union scale.

6. It is not bothered by bad reviews.

7. It's got a mind like a computer.

August 25, 2006 at 12:35 AM · The thing I can't understand is how they keep saying it sounds like a real violin, yet to me it is clearly a digital sounding violin - it sounds nothing like the real thing.

August 25, 2006 at 05:22 AM · Hahahahahahahahahaha! Thanks for posting. I knew I would like it from the very start, when the speaker says that it will be great to be able to play this well without years of practicing. That is sure to appeal to some of my students. Sandy, there is another obvious problem with this gizmo. Its bowing is Russian style, not German style. I respectfully disagree with the speaker's opinion that the virtual violin would be wonderful for use at a romantic dinner for two. I'd prefer a kazoo.

August 25, 2006 at 12:12 PM · god!!! that was disgusting......


August 25, 2006 at 01:12 PM · In contrast, how they might do it someplace like the MIT Media Lab might be to use rubber padded fingers traveling on worm screws connected to stepper motors. The bow would actually be playing the string, and you could do a frequency analysis of the string's vibration and send it back to the stepper controllers to compensate for climactic conditions and wear and zero in on a pitch the same way a player would. You could still use midi like he is, because it allows microtone adjustment via pitch wheel commands. The true pitches that got sent could be the result of a computerized harmonic analysis, just as a player might do, or based on a real time analysis of the sound also as a player might do, and be fed back to the stepper controllers. The optimum speed/pressure for bowing could be determined acoustically for each note by ear, or conditions could be programmed in by a real violinist. He could also program in vibrato conditions. It would be an interesting project that combined artificial intelligence and robotics. In contrast, what he's done is basically turn the violin body into a speaker, via what he calls the 'blade' or something. I think the bow probably moves over the two center strings which are probably slack enough to not produce much sound, but which still modulates the vibration of the body in a way that makes the thing sound a little more violin-like. I thought the interviewer did a good job of diplomatically calling him out. I helped design a couple of robots a few years ago that were used in industry.

August 25, 2006 at 01:30 PM · If it were a virtual violist instead of a virtual violin, I might be more accepting of it...

August 25, 2006 at 01:47 PM · I predict the first cyborg will be admitted to Juilliard around 2150.

August 25, 2006 at 03:03 PM · I would think Florida Tech before Julliard.

August 25, 2006 at 03:16 PM · Ah, but you don't realize how much easier it is to train a violinist than an engineer. He would learn the entire violin repertory in 47.3 minutes and never make a mistake or leave a dry eye in the house. Engineering is not so simple, however he might make a good PhD engineer. His strength would be in his ability to specialize, to the point of uselessness if required.

August 26, 2006 at 01:45 PM · If anyone is interested in buying it, you can get it from for only $17,500.

I would prefer a really good stereo for that much money. Or hiring a real violinist. Both sound way better.

August 28, 2006 at 09:21 PM · Bad orchestra too on that clip.

August 28, 2006 at 09:48 PM · that was...well, it was.


August 28, 2006 at 10:16 PM · *dies*

August 29, 2006 at 05:10 PM · I agree with the thing about it NOT being a good dinner for two deal...even a player piano somehow doesn't seem romantic, but at least it sounds okay!

August 29, 2006 at 06:47 PM · It can't do off the string bowings, I believe....It's certainly fascinating, but who wants to watch a machine for entertainment?

August 29, 2006 at 07:23 PM · A player piano can be sort of cool if you imagine a ghost is playing it...

August 29, 2006 at 07:32 PM · I always imagined they were invented to play music in dangerous places, like seedy bars in the old west. They'd probably lost too many bar room pianists over poker disputes.

Which leads to the question, where would you employ a player violinist?

August 29, 2006 at 07:49 PM · My friends had a player piano when we were young. And then they got a player organ!

August 29, 2006 at 07:52 PM · Speaking of player organs...anybody seen Don Knotz with "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken"?

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