HY Blog: Making a Robot Orchestra Come Alive

When two worlds collide, the result can be remarkable. Humans and machines. Picture this pairing, a composer who writes specifically for robotic performers, and a team of engineers who build robots specializing in musical performance. Italian composer, Leonardo Barbadoro has partnered with Godfried-Willem Raes and the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium to push the envelope of orchestral performances and recreate the sound of traditional instruments, using robot performers. Featuring organs, percussion, strings, wind instruments, and a broad ‘other’ category — each instrument has its own individualized control system, making each strike, stroke, and pluck unique. Going further than human capability (the robots don’t get tired or hungry or off-tempo), this electronic orchestra provides a way to automate, yet still reproduce true acoustic sounds. As robotics and machine learning continue to creep further into the world of composition and performance, this kind of experiment certainly opens up conversation regarding how our community may evolve as music and tech continue to collide. You can check out these robots in action below:

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