Martin Molin and the Musical Marble Machine

There is something so utterly fascinating about mechanical music machines.  I don’t know what captivates me the most — whether it is the complex timing involved, the thousands of little intricacies and artistries, or the idea that so much thought, imagination and effort went into planning and creating what many times were personal entertainment pieces.

I just know I enjoy them — a lot.  And I am not alone.

Mechanical music machines were hugely popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.  So it is extra fun to welcome a new kid on the block now.  The newly constructed Musical Marble Machine was built and composed by Martin Molin of the Swedish band Wintergatan.  Hand cranked and constructed mostly of wood, it has 3,000 parts, including vibraphone funnels,  kick drum coasters, a bass guitar, and 2,000 marbles…

And it looks and sounds amazing!

(h/t — Jason R)Almost as fascinating as listening and watching Martin Molin’s Musical Marble Machine in action, is watching the series of videos of Molin constructing various parts of it.   I hope there is a lot more videos and music to come from Molin and his Musical Marble Machine!


Side note: If you enjoy music of any kind and live in or visit Phoenix, Arizona, a must see is the Musical Instrument Museum.  I was fortunate enough to visit with friends a few years back.  It is an amazing place.  You get to see how music and musical instruments evolved all over the world and their geniuses in local resources.  Music is truly a universal language.

One of the highlights of the visit, for me at least, was the room full of mechanical music instruments from player pianos to music boxes and a giant Gebroeders Decap.




  1. What a fascinating machine and interesting post. Love the technology and music. I was going to say ‘simple’ music, but nothing simple about it. Have to share this with all the engineering types I know!


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