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Robotics Media Music

Guitarists, your Days are Numbered 590

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the funk-machines dept.
spackbace writes "Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a mechanical guitar playing robot, named the Crazy J. The guitar player is composed of two mechanical systems that interact to play a range of 29 musical notes. A plucking mechanism with six independently controlled picks is mounted over the body of the guitar and a fingering mechanism with an array of 23 fingertips is mounted over the first four frets of the fingerboard."
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Guitarists, your Days are Numbered

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  • Days are numbered? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlueOtto (519047) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:05PM (#13010603)
    The art form will never die... how long have MIDI keyboards been around?
    • I cant wait to see this thing live!!
      Does it come with a self flaming option??
    • by Ucklak (755284) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:21PM (#13010708)
      Machines always sound better than humans anyway.

      I just love it when a midi player plays a piece of music note for note directly as it was written as sheet music with no interpretation because we all know that a whole note should always be played as 2 half notes.
      • by jd0g85 (734515)

        No, that's just what we tell the computers what to play just like that's what we tell beginning students what to play. The only reason music students don't sound like that is because they don't yet have control of their intruments.

        Fast forward a few years and suddenly the student could play that methodically, if they wanted, but by this point in time they've learned to interpret what the composer meant by the notes. The rough outline the the notes record can be filled in by common experience.

        Computers are

    • by pwnage (856708)
      Bah. Guitars are dead. The next generation will all be listening to percussive strings played on the Chapman Stick (http://www.stick.com./ [www.stick.com] (OK, of course I'm posting hyperbole but check it out...it's quite a cool instrument).
    • by farrellj (563) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:20AM (#13011018) Homepage Journal
      I don't think that real guitarists have anything to fret about...it's like Roger Waters says in the film "Live in Pompei" "Give a man a Les Paul, and he doesn't become an Eric Clapton".

      It won't be able to compose a Layla, or anything of that caliber...it may be able to *play* Layla, but not create it.

      ttyl
      Farrell

      guitarist, among other things...
    • by clockwise_music (594832) on Friday July 08, 2005 @01:19AM (#13011236) Homepage Journal
      As an engineer, this is way cool. However as a guitarist - have you noticed just how mechanical the whole thing sounds? Here's why:
      • String muting - a big problem here. When playing guitar you can mute the strings that you're not playing with either your left or right hand. Notice how all of the strings "ring out" after playing a note? A key change on this thing would not sound good.
      • Bending - half the fun of playing the guitar is that you can bend notes. Bending and sliding is what can make a guitar 'sing' - similar to a voice.
      • Tremolo - to make your playing have any sense of feeling you need to be able to tremolo a note. That means slightly varying the pitch of it. This can be done in a few different ways - none that are possible here.
      • Strumming - ask it to strum a chord. It can't. Individual picks for each string is kind of cool, but won't sound any good when playing any songs recorded in the past 80 years.
      • Harmonics - can it play a one?
      • String selection - a good guitarist will pick particular strings for playing a particular note. These sound completely different because of a few reasons - an A on the bottom E string (fifth fret) compared with playing an A on the A string (open) will have a very different timbre. Doesn't look like that's possible here.
      • Range - the guitar actually has a very large range compared to other instruments. Doesn't look like you can get past the 5th fret here.
      • Legato, hammerons and pulloffs - can it 'flutter' between two notes?
      All of these things are particular to an acoustic guitar. As for trying to duplicate an electric guitar with distortion - that would be freaking cool but very hard.
  • *Yawn* (Score:5, Informative)

    by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:05PM (#13010604) Homepage Journal
    While not modern enough for a full-on web site, you can see a museum of such in Germany [sibmas.org]
    The pneumatic piano with the drum holding four violins, in particular, was interesting, if only from a mechanical engineering perspective.
    At any rate, when your gadget can move Mt. Fuji [slashdot.org], you shall have accomplished something.
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:06PM (#13010606)
    I, for one, welcome our new guitar playing overlords.

    Oh wait.. wasn't that Jimmy Hendrix?
    • by krbvroc1 (725200) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:22PM (#13010721)
      Oh wait.. wasn't that Jimmy Hendrix?

      No, his brother Jimi.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:04AM (#13010946)
      I know the original robot guitarist... Steve Morse.

      True story: While working for The Dixie Dregs and the Steve Morse Band sometime 1991-92, I did a gig at The Ranch Bowl in Omaha, Nebraska.

      This venue had, as well as an "old-man bar", a rock radio station, a small rock club, and a beach volleyball court, a bowling alley on the premises.

      After the gig was over we (band & crew) were invited to bowl a few games on the house. Sometime around 1:30 AM, Steve Morse (accomplished commercial pilot, virtuoso musician, genius composer, and guitar god) picked up a bowling bowl, announced that he had not bowled previously, and then attempted his first bowl.

      I think he knocked over a couple of pins. As he stood there motionless, I could just see him running back the instant replay in his head.

      His next turn... he threw a strike.

      His next turn... another strike. All night long, strike, strike, strike.

      Steve Morse is the original guitar-playing robot.

      And he can kick your ass at anything. Period.

      'Swelp me gawd.
  • hmmm? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sstation (865252) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:06PM (#13010607)
    http://www.capturedbyrobots.com/ [capturedbyrobots.com]
    • mod parent up ... any reference to captured by robots deserves all of +1 insightful, +1 funny, and +1 informative ...

      had the pleasure of seeing him and his robotic couterparts here in east tennessee many times, and is always a pleasure. and with 36 comments on this thread, i thought *I* was the origional one with the thought to come in an provide the link. it's well worth the $3 admission to the dives they play ...
  • Nicknamed the Crazy J

    Yeah, but will it fit in the bong?
  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot@ga[ ]lson.org ['ryo' in gap]> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:07PM (#13010612) Journal
    Unless it can give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a bottle of tequila, smell bad, and grow long hair, country music is still safe. Go Willie Nelson!
  • by lordkuri (514498) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:07PM (#13010618)
    a fingering mechanism with an array of 23 fingertips is mounted

    there's just no way I can compete with that!

    quick! post a dupe or something so she doesn't see it! =)
  • I was imaging a robotic Stevie Ray Vaughn, with a wide-brimmed hat and a goatee...
  • Just like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Approaching.sanity (889047) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:09PM (#13010629) Homepage
    How player pianos killed piano players.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      every headline should be taken at face value. There is no such thing as sarcasm. And your butt stinks (based on statistical probability).
  • by Parham (892904) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:09PM (#13010631)
    The music is only part of the fun. Watching the musician entertain is the rest. Interaction between the crowd and the musician is what is good about live music. I mean if I wanted to watch a robot play music, I'd turn on Winamp [winamp.com] with a plugin [winamp.com] and go crazy with that.
    • Yep. There have been "player" pianos for well over a century I believe, you feed it rolls of punched paper and it plays music. I guess that hasn't taken root, even in the form of MIDI keyboards that someone mentioned, and those are much more useful.
  • by hobotron (891379) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:10PM (#13010641)

    I suppose they ordered 23 cups of Wendy's Chili?
  • Is it "perfect"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ghoser777 (113623) <fahrenba AT mac DOT com> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:10PM (#13010646) Homepage
    Have you ever listened to synthesized music and cringed a little because it was too perfect? I always have that feeling with synthesized trumpets, french horns, etc. I like the variation that "imperfect" humans add to the music. If the robot is always perfectly in time and can't improvise, it won't be replacing good guitarists anytime soon.
    • The headline was a joke.

      I'm sorry. It had to be said.
    • If the robot is always perfectly in time and can't improvise, it won't be replacing good guitarists anytime soon.

      Totally agreed.

      Did anyone notice the pluck sounds pretty much the same?

      I have a guitar and know a few things but not enough to call myself an expert. The thing I find is that depending on how your hand or fingers attack the string, the sound is different.

      From the downloads, I don't get the impression that Crazy J has got it right.....
    • I like the variation that "imperfect" humans add to the music.

      I wish *you* had been my band teacher in 7th grade. :)
    • by nick_davison (217681) on Friday July 08, 2005 @01:13AM (#13011211)
      Anyone who spends any time reading interviews with guitarists will eventually come across some guitarist - it could be almost any guitarist - saying about their favorite guitarists:

      The great thing about B.B. is that while other virtuoso guitarists can play twenty notes in the time it takes him to play one, he can "say" twice as much in that one note as they can in their twenty.

      It's not even about perfection vs. imperfection. You can introduce slight random imperfection (simply not hitting notes perfectly), you can introduce procedural imperfection that adds specific style (say hitting off beats slightly ahead of the beat in order to create a rock/roll feel - hmm, wonder where that name came from) - but it still doesn't capture it.

      It's about expression.

      It's about the guitarist who reads the audience and knows the moment when the crowd moves from listening to feeling and can smoothly transition from relatively clean notes to ones where that little extra touch is needed. Add slight vibrato to every note and it's annoying, add it to the right moments and it adds that notion of human soul. And, the thing is, it's different, every night, for the same song, depending on the audience.

      It's not about playing the eight bar intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, etc... It's about responding to Jim Morrison deciding to rail on the police who beat him back stage and knowing now is the time to take that twice repeated four bar intro and keep repeating it for however long it takes him to finish. It's about knowing tonight's the last night of a tour and it's just the right time to repeat the chorus that extra few times, to extend the solo - which, on a normal night, would be pretentious and turn the crowd off.

      It's about the guitarist having a bad day, feuding with the singer, whatever, and playing aggressively and capturing the audience in the tension of the moment and that dynamic.

      It's all those things and so much more. Even if you have a robot that simulates human perfection/imperfection brilliantly, it doesn't express how it's feeling, it doesn't adapt to how the gig's going, it just plays the same things (with whatever generated imperfection) every night - or, potentially, improvises without any awareness of how the rest of the gig is going.

      Program a robot and, sure, you can fake the technical aspects. But music's about having a "soul". Soul is all those aspects mentioned above and more - it's far more than just perfection or imperfection.

      Give me the choice: A guitarist who can play Ywingie under the table, technically and it terms of number of notes played, or B.B. playing two or three perfectly expressive notes per bar and I'll take B.B. every time.
  • No, no, no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rocjoe71 (545053) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:11PM (#13010650) Homepage
    ...Fer fucks sake, just don't teach it goddamn "Stairway to Heaven"... anyone who's spent 10 minutes in a any guitar store on a busy street knows what I'm talking about.
  • still no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelbuddy (751237) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:11PM (#13010652) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be more useful to create robots that perform automation on things that humans don't actually like doing. Why are they even creating this when there are tons of jobs, like trimming the overgrowth in my backyard for example, that I would love a robot / computer to do for me, so i could spend time practicing the guitar on my own.

    And In other news, still no cure for cancer.
    • And In other news, still no cure for cancer.

      I am not sure how the guys with the guitar robot have any relation to the lack of cancer cures... of course here I am, reading /. instead of working on our microarray expression database like I am supposed to be doing, so I guess you have a point...

  • Is it anti musicians day on Slashdot?

    First all they do is rehash the old crap and now we're replacing them with robots? Next they'll find a cheaper way to replace admins and you'll all be out of a job!
  • nothing to see here folks, move along....
  • Georgia Tech takes Crazy J to Athens (Georgia, not Greece) and watches it get wizzed on by Uga VI. Now that would be a darn good dawg.
  • . . . as poorly as I do.
  • fear not..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yagu (721525) <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:15PM (#13010681) Journal

    Never underestimate the human ear and its ability to pick (pun intended) the poser. I've heard of the obsolescence by technology of so many things musical that never really got there.

    One I fondly remember was a report on the CBS Evening News, granted, it was a long time ago, but the point is valid today... They played a video clip of an orchestra playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and asked, "What's wrong with this picture?". I remember thinking, aside from the really crappy quality of sound, hard to say. Their punchline? The music was from a synthesizer, NOT the orchestra (yawn).

    This experience (for me at least) is not unique. I had to toss my "white noise" generator I used to help sleep at night... over a period of time my ears picked up the "random" pattern and it actually became an irritant, not a mask of other ambient noise.

    I also own a Yamaha high-end keyboard (full 88 key, acceleration keys, 128 voice polyphonic), and it's main piano "voice" was digitally sampled from a Steinway. It sounds wonderful, but I could pick the Yamaha out of a bunch of real pianos from a mile away. The pitch was always too perfect, the decay was always to predictable, etc.

    Have you ever listened to a musical recording and found the laid down "generated rhythm" track so perfect it was annoying? I have.

    Technology can do some interesting things in music, none of them human. If technology is used create an instrument played by a human, that's one thing... Technology to play an instrument is quite another, and in my opinion will never approach the real thing. If you've listened a lot to classical, it's pretty easy to pick out Stern, or Perlman as the violinist on the same piece. Likewise it's pretty easy to recognize Vladimir on piano.

    • Re:fear not..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tmortn (630092) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:40AM (#13011087) Homepage
      Yes but that just brings up the next likely step for music automation and that is fuzzing the edges a bit. For example instead of sampling the stienway for a single tone to use for that note across a dynamic range how about you sample thousands of strokes and sample another layer or two to reproduce a more valid range. Also allow for a tune drift function that allows the individual values to float withen a range of acceptable values.

      In effect you try to create something similar to brownian motion to the tone quality and musical execution. IE instead of set values/lengths of tones rigidly adhered to and perfection of timing you create a set of varibles that execute randomly across an acceptable range forming a HUGE range of possible combinations.

      It still won't replace live musicians but it would likely go a long way to eliminating that fake perfection feel synthesized music always has.

      in refference to this particular invention I found the decision to go with plucking to be an odd decision. It seems to me some kind of back and forth mechanisim utilizing an actual guitar pick would have resulted in a sound much more equivalent with something a live player would produce. Instead they wound up with what amounts to a 6 string harpsichord. A neat technical problem for applied engineering education though.
  • This guy [capturedbyrobots.com] is way ahead of them. He's had a guitar-playing robot in his band for years.
  • Not quite as versatile, but making up for that with geek factor is:

    Ukulele Mindstorms Robot [middlebury.edu]

    It only plays reggae since reggae usually uses only a few, simple chords, but it is still way cool. They even made it remote controllable. And of course, all the source is on their site.
  • I'm not scared. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:17PM (#13010690) Homepage

    The technology isn't there to match the dynamics in picking techniques and subtle stylistic interpretations.

    For instance, some swing-beat pieces (in jazz band music, not just guitar music) require a little more sluggishness in the eights, to really capture the groove.

    As well, there aren't effective improv algorithms yet for these mechanical beasts :)

    Oh sure, its possible to program future machines to match interpretations to exact specifications, but the nuances required to program that are unfathomable when it comes to instruments such as guitars - There are so many dynamic elements to it that it just isn't feasible. Besides, people like watching guitarists as much as they like listening to them.. Thats part of why people prefer live shows to CDs - Nothing is like watching the emotive expressions of a guitar duo while they shred in harmony, knees on the ground, eyes at the sky.

    Guitar: A month or so to learn, a lifetime to master.

    • The technology isn't there to match the dynamics in picking techniques and subtle stylistic interpretations.

      It's not capable of even doing a slide on the fret; it can only do a fixed number of notes because for some strange reason, the fretboard "fingers" are fixed.

  • Any guitarist worth their salt prefers a good ole tube amp over solid state. You really think they're going to let robot come to the party?

  • There's a certain feel to every guitarist worth their salt. Every player has a certain way that they "attack" the instrument, and the way a person presses on the strings, bends notes, cranks on the neck, picks the notes, hammers and pulls off of strings, slides up and down the neck, etc.- all of these affect the feel of the playing. I don't think a robot would EVER be able to synthesize such feel. Take Stevie Ray Vaughn, for instance. I was fortunate to see him play when he was still alive. See him play thr
  • by skingers6894 (816110) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:31PM (#13010774)
    This reminds me of the "programmer's days are numbered" stories - turns out they just got outsourced to India...
  • All the notes are played with the same emphasis.

    Layla and First Noel by Crazy J especially since I've heard them played live by musiciain friends who actually make them sound good.

    PLAYER PIANOS AND CRAZY J PLAY JUST LIKE ME WRITING MY POST IN ALL CAPS. DULL AND MONOTONOUS.
  • Thats 26 more than our greatest punk bands ... the human race is doomed!

  • http://www.animusic.com/ [animusic.com] ;)
    (it's actually quite impressive)
  • The first player piano was made in 1895: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_piano [wikipedia.org]

    Big Bertha never replaced entire bands http://www.bandorganmusic.com/machines/mbigbertha. htm [bandorganmusic.com] which had 369 pipes, a bass drum, a snare drum, two bells, tympani, double castanets, cymbals, a triangle, and a set of 18 bells. The very ingenious snare drum action stems back to the great Leonardo Da Vinci who designed this type of arrangement. The triangle perforations now activate the two comely bell-ringers. The Director, Big
  • Bending strings? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FriedTurkey (761642) * on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:40PM (#13010830)
    From what I read it didn't mention that it could bend the strings to certain notes. I think that would be very hard to do because you bend the notes at different strengths to reach certain pitches.

    Also I would like to see that thing do some Van Halen string tapping. I'll be impressed to see it play "Eruption".
  • Another guitar playing robot in the GuitarBot [lemurbots.org]. The guitar bot doesn't play an actual guitar, rather there is a seperate robot/string assembly for each string. But it is a neat little gadget, and I believe it's been on slashdot before. Another advantage of the Guitarbot is that is comes with a video clip of it performing.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:45PM (#13010856) Homepage Journal
    I've played guitar as a hobby since 8th grade.. and i'm something of a metal/shred fan.

    This thing addresses the wrong end of the problem.

    I can _play_ reasonably proficiently. I mean, anything most people would listen to i can play without much trouble - technical profiency at guitar _playing_ is not really making anybody money right now. I mean, to a lot of people, metallica is like the end-all-be-all of fast guitar licks and "wild" guitar solos and yet i could play the overwhelming majority of that stuff after a few years of playing while i was in highschoool. There are much much better guitarists out there, who's work i cannot emulate, but honestly, there are very few guys out there where some other guy can't play his stuff perfectly.

    The issue then, is not about the ability to "play", but the ability to create.

    I can play just about any metallica song.. solos and all.

    But i definitely can't write anything like they could. It shames me to admit that i can't even put together an original song as good as a crap band like weezer or radiohead or any of the other stuff that's passed as music in the last 15 years.

    Composition is the real gem here, not technical playing ability. If you want to hear a trillion notes per second, check out the artists on the Shrapnel Records label.. nothing but guitar/keyboard maniacs (which i happen to love, but i admit it gets tiring at times ... i think a few less notes might do a better job now and then)

    One other thing to consider - i haven't seen/heard the thing play, but something you'll hear from older guitarists is that "95% of your tone is in your finger tips, not your equipment". How effective is the robot at things like bends ? If you listen to a player like marty friedman, he really makes effective emotional use of bends that just _sound_ better than what i can do. How does a robot compare ?

  • Just like the electric guitar destroyed the acoustic guitar, right?

    Music is expression by one person, to another (or many others). It's a way of sync'ing minds, using fundamental sympathies that transcend other languages. We aren't even aware of most of what we communicate through music, let alone understand it, or are able to articulate. So there's no chance that this machine will replace a musician. It's really just another instrument, played (or composed for) by a human. Like a player piano, or a jukebo
  • by TheLink (130905)
    From my limited experience as a keyboardist and watching guitarists do their stuff, it's easier to replace a pianist with a computer than it is to replace a guitarist.

    With most pianists the hammers are the only things that touch the strings directly. And the hammers are controlled by the keys.

    Whereas guitarists get to manipulate the sound producing parts of their instrument more directly AND it is normal/expected of them.

    Basically there's lots of stuff guitarists do with their guitars that goes beyond ju
    • Oops. what I meant by toys are these "robotic" stuff with no real new intelligence or innovation.
  • ...the first air guitar championship [airguitaraustralia.com] with a robot as an entrant.

    I think it will be some time until Crazy J is able of outplaying the likes of Jimmy Damage, the current Australian air guitar champion...

  • The robot chases around the room - and tries to choke - anyone who requests 'Stairway to Heaven'.

  • I took this picture at the AOPA Expo in Long Beach last year:

    http://overcode.yak.net/7.sizes@100_0649.jpg?size 1 =L&size=S [yak.net]

    An automatic banjo and guitar. They sounded very good, but obviously somewhat mechanical. The mechanism seems to be very similar to what the Georgia Tech people came up with.

    I don't know why someone brought this to an aircraft show, but it was fun to watch.

    -John
  • L.E.M.U.R. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 (792761) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @11:58PM (#13010926) Journal
    Guitarbot [lemurbots.org] is an earlier robotic guitar, which I read about several years ago. Pretty nifty video...it's basically focused on being able to do everything a regular guitar could, as well as extending possibilities far beyond human capability.

  • I just looked at it, and I garuntee that it can not do pinch harmonics, or various basic picking techniques such as down/up picking.
  • Oh wait, you said Georgia Tech right? That little trade school over on North Avenue? They wouldn't care about that kind of robot.
  • Sorry, but seeing someone play the guitar, especially when they totally love doing it, is far more entertaining than any robot (even if it played perfectly) could ever be, much like a mechanical piano.

    So, guitarists' days are NOT numbered, no more than pianists' by the mechanical piano.

  • http://www.capturedbyrobots.com/gtrbot.htm [capturedbyrobots.com]

    GTRBOT666 has been doing this for years.
  • What? There isn't one? WTF, how is it going to torch the guitar after a blistering Hendrix performance?
  • by StarWynd (751816) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:38AM (#13011081)
    But can it play the hardest chord ever [hrwiki.org]?
  • by ph43drus (12754) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:48AM (#13011116)
    It's neat, the actuators are a decent design, but it won't replace even a basic guitarist. It can only hold a note down and pick said note. It can't slide, tap, pick harmonics, bend notes, fret hand mute, palm mute or any of a number of other techniques that I can think of.

    However, I can understand why they didn't go for those extra features; they would be a bitch to design. So, kudos to them for the whole design, it looks cool, but /. editors should know better than to declare musicians will lose to a machine.

    For that matter, people still play chess even.

    Jeff

    PS Sorry for the rant, it's late, I'm tired, and I'm a guitarist. Struck a nerve...
  • Not so fast... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voss, sometimes... (873034) on Friday July 08, 2005 @02:44AM (#13011566)
    I would like to point out a couple of things, why this thing won't be able to play like a human being.

    1. Crazy J can't bend
    2. Crazy J can't slide
    3. Crazy J can't palm-mute

    I would like to add one more thing: if you listen to the demo songs, Lola is not played by the Crazy J itself, but you can hear an electric guitar in the back.

    BUT, from engineering point of view, I do have to give credit though :)
  • by beders (245558) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:00AM (#13011784) Homepage
    What do you mean he's not dead? Have you seen him lately?
  • This isn't new..? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tim Browse (9263) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:12AM (#13012097)
    I saw a robot like this on TV years ago - except it could fret any string anywhere on the fretboard (not fretless), because it had a 'fingertip' for every possible position.

    I think it was made by one of the Japanese tech companies. It could play some pretty complex music, including stuff humans can't play, due to it not being limited by finger length - so it could play a bass line and melody simultaneously on the same guitar (or multiple bass lines, etc).

    This was like 5+ years ago. A quick google yields nothing, but I remember it well.
  • by e**(i pi)-1 (462311) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:41AM (#13012561) Homepage Journal
    The next step would be to have a guitar which allows to record the
    mechanical forces which apply to the strings, when a guitarist plays it
    and feed that back into Crazy J. This would allow a preservation of a
    play in a very compressed way.

    I heard once a public lecture of Negroponte from the MIT media lab,
    where he invited the audience to think about the fact that recording
    all the forces onto piano keys would allow storage or transmission of
    music information in an interesting way. The play of an artist could so
    be preserved efficiently. The compression effort is very expensive and
    needs a lot of hardware, but the compression rate is enormous. Unlike
    formats like midi, it contains all the musical interpretation
    of the artist.

    Having stored the play in a mechanical way could have applications. One
    could try how the "pianist" or "guitarist " would play on an other
    instrument, one could correct mistakes or analyze, what features make
    a good pianist or guitarist. Further applications are that one could
    play musical pieces on real pianos or guitars which humans are
    physically incapable to play, for example by pure limitation of the
    number of fingers or speed limits of the fingers.

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