There’s nothing quite like the sound of stringed instruments, and the cello has one of the most evocative sounds in all of music. An electronic version, therefore, is inevitable.
This cool project comes to us courtesy of Gizmag. The Magnetovore Magnetic Cello is the brainchild of musician and electrical engineering student David Levi. It works by holding a magnetic rod to control the volume, much like a bow on a real cello, while a ribbon control changes the pitch. The ribbon controls an oscillator, which generates the sound. That means it’s really an analog synthesizer, like the kind made famous by the like of Pink Floyd in the ’70s. The wood body is also very stylish.
It works a bit like the Theremin, which you might have heard in old Sci-Fi movies or in “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys. In fact, Leon Theremin, the inventor of his namesake electronic instrument, also invented a Theremin cello.
As with a lot of other things involving music, it’s easier to hear it than to describe it. Here’s a video of Levi playing some music from Pokemon:
It manages to sound familiar, almost like a real cello, but still alien. It has a lot more warmth than the standard 8-bit electronic sounds.
If the electronic sounds intrigue you, and you happen to be able to play the cello, there’s some good news for you. You’ll be able to buy one. Levi is making a limited run. He doesn’t know how much they’ll sell for, but he’s aiming for $600 to $900. Not many people are going to be able to have one of these, so if you appreciate unusual musical instruments, then this cello is definitely for you. It should be available around August.