The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Coming soon to an Orchestra Pit near you!

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 6, 2008

An expert musician and a snappy dresser too? Bestill my heart!

An expert musician and a snappy dresser too? Bestill my heart!

I just spotted this little guy on Daily Planet and decided I had to share (I’m a band geek so cut me some slack!)  Meet WF-4RIV, or the Waseda Fluetist if your prefer a more human name.  He’s a robot constructed Waseda University in Japan and through the miracle of an anatomically inspired synthetic mouth this shiny flute player can play more accurately than any human but with a similar amount of “emotion”.

Anyone who’s listened a bunch of 7th graders learn to play  the James Bond theme know that just putting the right notes in the right places doesn’t result in inspiring music.  007 would be more prone to sit down and eat a bag of Cheetos than save the world if your average Jr. High band were in charge of his theme music.

WF-4RIV seems to “understand” this, or at least his programmers did and they made great pains to give him the ability to slur and add vibrato so that his music would have more expression.

For more on how the Waseda Flutist brings music to life, check out his official site, for a more astonishing look at how this robot takes in air as a human does and produces music with a flute just as a human does, click play down below.  For those who don’t know, Flight of the Bumblebees which WF-4RIV is playing is one of the hardest to play musical pieces of all time.  It’s a major tongue twister and a finger breaker to boot.  You may also recognize it as the theme to the Green Hornet radio program from many years ago.

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind playing my Trombone along with this little guy in an orchestra… at least he’d be more agreeable than most flutists I know (just kidding, please don’t hurt me!)

(The little inset in the bottom right is a close up of the robot’s lips and tounge as they play)


One Response to “Coming soon to an Orchestra Pit near you!”

  1. […] people consider, post-modern or contemporary art.  Shannon O’Grady posted a blog titled “Coming Soon to an Orchestra Pit Near You,” which shows a robot named WF-4RIV, who was created and programmed at Waseda University in Japan, […]

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