Video: Could These Drones Replace a Live Orchestra?

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 11:00 AM

A 'Drone Orchestra' created by KMel Robotics A 'Drone Orchestra' created by KMel Robotics (YouTube)

Orchestra musicians, watch out for your jobs.

A startup called KMel Robotics this week released a YouTube video of its programmed drones playing Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra as well as "Carol of the Bells" and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The video shows the creative potential of the burgeoning technology of automated flying robots, suggesting that they can be used for more than delivering your packages or global warfare.

In the musical production, a central computer acts as something of a conductor, and each of the hexrotors, as they're known, is programmed to trigger sounds on an adapted guitar, a deconstructed piano and various percussion instruments.

The robotic rockers will bring their show to the USA Science & Engineering Festival, April 26-27 in Washington, D.C.


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Comments [9]

concetta nardone from Nassau

Dear Luv, very funny. I very much liked Liberace. I used to watch his 15 minute shows that were broadcast three times a week. Yes, I am old. The candelabra was on the piano and his brother played the violin. Did not like the HBO film about him starring Michael Douglas. Found it lurid. Liberace made music interesting and many viewers started liking classical music because of him. He did not deserve that expose'.

May. 04 2014 07:43 AM
Luv Dat Spurgeon! from By the radio

It's truly a crying shame these didn't exist during Liberace's time, as the possibilities of how they could've been incorporated into his shows are endless.

For example: Drones draped in little sequined feathered boas preceding his grand entrance, mischeviously playing a few notes here & there; another group dressed as his grandmotherly fan base; yet another as Scott Thorson, jumping around the keyboard playing "Money Makes the World Go 'Round" just before diving into Libby Babes' flowing robe pocket...

Very, very sad...oh well...

May. 02 2014 12:24 AM
Clara Nette from Reed Avenue

Wow - makes a great compliment to & competition for "Animusic" - to which my jaw dropped when I first saw it - but this dropped my jaw even further.

And there's the added bonus of a nice breeze - not so bad!

Apr. 30 2014 09:38 AM
David from Flushing

Mechanical instruments have been around for a long time. Saloons would sometimes feature player pianos that incorporated banjos, drums, and even a violin sound. None were of the quality of professional players, but they served their purpose.

Apr. 28 2014 07:07 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Hi Concetta,
I completely agree with you.
Hope you are well also. I am having a nice relaxing Sunday, listening to music made by real people, not drones!

Apr. 27 2014 06:32 PM
Charles from Asbury Park

A symphony by definition is an elaborate musical composition for full orchestra, typically in four movements, at least one of which is traditionally in sonata form. Here it's being played by humans whose talents stem not from carefully strumming, plucking and playing instruments but breaking down the full extent of music into it's mathematical base, constructing an equally elaborate instrument and using it to create music. Here we witness a mechanical symphony, and the ever lasting testament to the power of classical music no matter the instrument used.

Apr. 27 2014 02:14 PM

This is creepy. There is a state out west where I think there is a reward if you shoot down a drone. I hope it is true. These are just another instrument that the government will use in the future against us. The government can use and has been using these to see where we have our morning cup of coffee, where we shop, etc.etc. Only humans can make music, not computerized c--p.
Hope you are well Carol.

Apr. 27 2014 01:46 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Yes, it certainly is creepy! But these drones will never be able to replace human musicians. It's one thing for a computer-programmed drone to play some innocuous little tune, but give them something as sublime as a Bruckner symphony and they would have a meltdown!

Apr. 25 2014 08:08 PM
Bernie from UWS

Totally creepy. Of course, it's perfectly in keeping with our government's policy of attacking innocent civilians in Middle Eastern countries with these things. I hope this never catches on in classical music.

Apr. 25 2014 04:48 PM

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