Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Night Tomfoolery (2)

An early one tonight, as I bring you music performed using Tesla Coils.

"What are Tesla Coils?", I hear you ask.

"Good question", I respond.

Tesla Coils were invented in, or around, 1891 by Serbian engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla. They are a type of electronic transformer circuit, used to produce high voltage, low current electricity. Wiki has a lot more of the technical stuff about them here.

Whilst this doesn't sound all that interesting one of the cool things that Tesla Coils can do is be manipulated to make music. This can be done by modulating the power burst coming out of these things, using MIDI data and a control unit. Also known as Zeusaphone (a cross between the Greek God Zeus, and a Sousaphone), a termed coined by Dr Barry Gehm.  However, enough copying from Wiki. You're here to view YouTube videos, not to get a physics lecture.

This is a basic video of how music is played using Tesla Coils:

Now, famed Australian blogger Greg Jericho (creator of Grog's Gamut) has a (fairly) regular blog topic concerning movies, on a Friday night (though not last Friday, I note). Anyway he always manages to link his current movie review to his previous movie review, whether as a result of the two movies having the same director, lead actor, composer, etc. You can see his list of movie reviews at the end of this blog.

I mention this because I think it will be good to try and link my Tomfoolery blogs in the same way.

My first Tomfoolery article finished with the theme from Mario Brothers played on bottles. The first YouTube clip tonight is Mario Brothers played on the Zeusaphone (ignore the idiot American yelling "Oh Yeah!" at the start. He shuts up pretty quickly)

I am a sucker for music from Star Wars. John Williams is one of the all time best composes of music scores, with music not only for the Star Wars movies, but also Indiana Jones, Jaws, ET, Superman, Harry Potter (at least the early films) Saving Private Ryan, etc etc etc (as well as arranging Fiddler on The Roof for the big screen, which he received an Oscar for in 1971 - his first of 5). But I digress. The next one is one of his biggies, Darth Vader's theme, also known as the Imperial March:

And do not ask me why, but Popcorn (made famous by the group Hot Butter - no joke. Look it up) has been a favourite of mine. Here it is on Zeusaphone:

This is a variation of the Tesla Coil, as it involves having a guy in a metal suit, acting as an earth for the electricity (I think I may have made that up). Anyway, here is the Dr Who theme (this will probably be a future topic for a Tomfooolery):

These coils don't just play movie themes and 70's synth music though They can be used to play "serious" music. Here is Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor:

Have a good week. Next Sunday we look at Bach's Toccata.

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