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Animusic; the Incredible Music Machine; Music Animation; the Mother of All Doohickeys

Cindy has a strong interest in the world around her. Her interest and research lead to the creation of this article


The Incredible Music Machine; Music Animation; The Mother of All Doohickeys

The Incredible Music Machine, also called the Mother of All Doohickeys in emails circulating the net, is a remarkable machine created from farm implement equipment parts that plays music. Or is it? Watch the remarkable video, and then read on to find the answer to this question and many others.

Occasionally I receive emails from family and friends suggesting that I write an article about a certain topic. This is one of those hubs. I must confess when I received this email and watched the video, entitled “The Mother of All Doohickeys”, I was very intrigued – fascinated may even be a better word to describe my feelings. The email had the following video attached to it.

The Incredible Music Machine

Watch it and see for yourself. It reminds me of the ultimate pinball machine.

Another Animusic Video using the Same Animated Instruments

Here is another video using the same synthesized instruments. Enjoy!

Animusic: Pipe Dream

The Incredible Music Machine

The aforementioned email began with the title, “The Mother of All Doohickeys,” and right after that continued, “You have to see it to believe it!” I watched the above video before I read beyond this point. Just the image from the video, sitting there waiting for me to click on it, was too enticing for my mechanical mind to resist.

The balls being blown out and landing so precisely at just the exact right moment to create the musical composition was entertaining, to say the least. It is amazing to see the balls shoot into the air, land on their intended target (a percussion device) creating a musical sound, and continue to bounce precisely into return shoots, called catcher cones. Amazing! In fact, the email stated that it was, “Totally fantazmaglorious!!!” Yes, I spelled that right! I checked it three times!

The next paragraph in the email tells me that we have done this all backward. It instructs us to read the email first; then watch the video of the Incredible Music Machine created by Animusic. Oh well, it’s too late to undo it now. You have already experienced the enticing magic of the video. So I guess we will continue with the email, albeit late.

This is the type of tractor I drove on the farm growing up.

This is the type of tractor I drove on the farm growing up.

The email goes on to explain that this amazing contraption was a cooperative endeavor between the Sharon Wick School of Engineering (University of Iowa) and the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory. That seems like an unusual mix, but then again the video did display the workings of a very unusual machine.

It is said to have taken this team, combined from the two above organizations, just over 13 thousand hours (6.25 years) of manpower to set-up, align and calibrate, and fine-tune before the video could be created.

The email continues stating that the majority of the contraption was comprised of John Deere farm equipment parts and irrigation equipment from the Iowa area.

The email finished by stating that the machine was being displayed at the University of Iowa and was later scheduled to be given to the Smithsonian Institution for permanent display.

The Incredible Music Machine

The Incredible Music Machine

Having Doubts About the Incredible Music Machine Created by Animusic

I can’t really tell you when I started having doubts about the authenticity of this amazing machine, but somewhere along the line, I began to have misgivings. Did this marvelous machine exist, or was it an intricate computer simulation? I hoped that Snopes would be able to give me the scoop.

Animusic Video Albums

Snopes and the Incredible Music Machine Created by Animusic

Snopes confirmed what I thought might be true – the machine did not exist. This contraption is a music video, and was in fact computer-animated. The video which plays a catchy tune using balls to strike a variety of percussion instruments is entitled “Pipe Dream” from a DVD that was produced by Animusic. Animusic acknowledges that the graphics and music are completely digitally synthesized.

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A Tour Through The Animusic Synthesized Instruments

Take a tour through the amazing and unusual Animusic's Synthesized Instruments.

People want to see the machine for themselves - up close and personal!

People want to see the machine for themselves - up close and personal!

People Want to See the Animusic's Incredible Music Machine

This incredible music machine, created by Animusic, has fascinated many people who have contacted the Smithsonian inquiring about its existence.

The Smithsonian responds to all inquiries with a form letter informing its recipients that the Incredible Music Machine is actually a computer animation, not an existing musical instrument or machine. Their letter goes on to state that the University of Iowa does not have a School of Engineering by the aforementioned name and the Trammel Music Conservatory does not exist.

All of this information is followed by a bit of humor, indicating that the Smithsonian cannot accept a donation of a machine that doesn’t exist. It would make it kind of difficult to say the least.

The University of Iowa has also received many phone calls and visits from persons who want to see the machine in action.

Additional Animusic Videos

Here are a couple more Animusic videos for your enjoyment!

Animusic: Cathedral Pictures

Animusic: Acoustic Curves


Despite the fact that this machine does not exist, and was actually a computer animation, it still holds a fascination for me. It would have been incredible for this contraption to have been a real machine that could mesmerize with its precise timing and mechanized movements, but I still enjoy watching the Incredible Music Machine video, created by Animusic, with the knowledge that it is only an animation. I hope you do too.

Animusic: Gyro Drums

Animusic: Pogo Sticks

Animusic: Lights, Animation and Music

The videos below have it all!

Animusic: Starship Groove

Animusic: Fiber Bundles

Note: Some choices in this poll may no longer be available because the video is no longer available on YouTube. Sorry for any confusion this may cause. If I delete them from the poll, all results will be lost.

© 2011 Cindy Murdoch

Comments: "Animusic: The Incredible Music Machine; Music Animation; The Mother of All Doohickeys"

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on February 10, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insight, baltimore city!

baltimore city on February 09, 2012:

i see the music web site and would love for it io become a permanent major attraction in downtown baltimore city inner harbor

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on January 18, 2012:

Sunshine625 - Thanks so much for stopping by!This is a fun hub!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 18, 2012:

Wow! That's impressive HSB!! Thank you for creating and sharing this hub!!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 29, 2011:

gail641 - thanks so much!

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on December 28, 2011:

Great Hub! The machines are incredible.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 27, 2011:

Hello, epi! I am the one who has been honored, first by your presence and second by your sharing! The holidays have been fairly quiet and that is just fine by me. The presence of my husband is really all I need to be happy. Not a real fancy person, mostly just a country girl in the city. So it was good.

I hope yours was good as well.

Glad you enjoyed the incredible music machine by animusic, feel free to come back anytime!

epigramman on December 27, 2011:

...well this is surely the mother of all doohickey hubs and I will be most proud and honored to post this amazing presentation of sight and sound to my Facebook page with a direct link back here - I love all kinds of music naturally and have always loved animation with music or film scores so yes your labor of love here is very much appreciated - I hope sincerely you had a nice happy safe and warm holiday and I wish for you continued health and happiness into the new year of 2012.

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Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 27, 2011:

Sueswan - Happy to entertain! Thanks for the votes and for stopping by!

Here's wishing you a year filled with many wonderful surprises.

Sueswan on December 27, 2011:

A very entertaining hub even if the machine does not exist. :-)

Voted up and awesome.

Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 26, 2011:

RedElf - LOL!

So glad I could help! It would be nice it the incredible music machine truly existed, because it would be so much fun to see in action. But alas ...

They really are great! It is a hard choice! Glad you enjoyed them.

Thanks for stopping by!

RedElf from Canada on December 26, 2011:

Love the hub, love the "machines." Thanks so much for settling an argument (OK, and ongoing, animated debate) about the Animusic machines. ...and thanks for the link to the website. Now I can send the link and say - "See for yourself."

I went back and watched all the videos again so I could be an "informed voter." It took three goes before I felt "informed" enough :D:D:D

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 25, 2011:

flashmakeit - Here is Animusic's official site:

On this site they state: "It's all created digitally, utilizing a process similar to that used to produce computer animated movies (although we apply our own "secret formula"...)

I hope this answers your questions, but it could very well be part of their secret formula that they are not sharing. Check out their web site.

thanks for stopping by and asking a very good question.

flashmakeit from usa on December 25, 2011:

I saw one of those video's on you tube and wondered how he made that music visual did he use a program language or a software like ZGameEditor? You wrote that the graphics and music are completely digitally synthesized but I don't understand how.

Thanks so much for posting that was very interesting.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 24, 2011:

Hello, davenmidtown! This machine is amazing, and even though it is only a computer simulation, it did take a lot of effort to make. So many little details in it. I am glad you enjoyed it!

David Stillwell from Sacramento, California on December 24, 2011:

It really amazes me how the human mind can fathom the ideas to make such a machine and then actually make it. This is an awesome hub that I think many people will enjoy.

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