To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci's death, Giuseppe Acito has paid tribute to the great Renaissance polymath with an instrument, built from Lego, inspired by the Tamburo Meccanico.
Da Vinci’s mechanical drum design is, most likely, the first automated percussion instrument and looks like it was also the first ever step sequencer.
Acito’s recreation takes the idea of a rotating drum, but dispenses with the two-wheeled carriage in favour of a static rotating drum powered by a Lego motor, triggering pads which are then connected to a Nord Drum module.
Despite the electro-mechanical nature of the drum machine, the results are far from robotic, as Guiseppe concludes: “The nonlinearity of the system made in ABS, generates a sort of shuffle rhythm and some random ghost notes, which creates an unpredictable organic groove.”
You can find out more, including videos of his Tao Mata band on the Opificio Sonico YouTube channel.