The Ballet Mecanique by George Antheil is considered on of his most famous (or infamous) works. The original score, written in 1924, calls for 16 player pianos playing four separate parts, for four bass drums, three xylophones, a tam-tam, seven electric bells, a siren, and three different-sized airplane propellors (high wood, low wood, and metal), as well as two human-played pianos. It was later revised in 1953 using a very different ensemble of four pianos, four xylophones, two electric bells, two propellors, timpani, glockenspiel, and assorted percussion.

This video features the premiere of an all-robitic version of the piece for 16 player pianos and percussion orchestra. The performance was made possible with robotic instruments from LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. For more information on Ballet Mecanique,

Today’s video is courtesy of guest contributor Carlos Johnson.

Have you seen any performances of robotic percussion or have you ever seen a live performance of Ballet Mecanique? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Originally posted on DrumChattr on September 11, 2010.

Dave Gerhart

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