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"Fast Blue Air nr 1" Composed by Elena Kats-Chernin for Roland Olbeter's "Sound Machines"

By Ceci Moss

Scene designer and robot artist Roland Olbeter developed and crafted the unique ensemble "The Sound Machines," an automated, electrical string quartet with a drum. The four string instruments sound and function like electric guitars, the difference being that each sound machine only has one string.

21 micro-cylinders from Festo are used in each sound machine. The micro-cylinders imitate the mechanical movements of a musician's left hand on the string instruments, determining the pitch of the tone by changing the length of the strings. Various drumsticks and a jazz brush are moved on the drum by micro-cylinders.

"Fast Blue Air," the music composed especially for the Hanover Fair by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, explores the range of sounds generated by the sound machines including the noises produced by the pneumatics.

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