Teenage Engineering’s MIDI wooden doll choir is the most baffling music tech product of the year

If that wooden nativity scene you get out every Christmas is starting to look a little low tech, Teenage Engineering has a typically quirky and expensive alternative: its own wooden choir.

This set of eight wooden dolls is designed to “serenade you with a repertoire of choral classics,” and can also be triggered by your OP-1 Field or any Bluetooth MIDI keyboard, so can 'sing' your own compositions, too. Each doll has its own voice and vocal range, and can perform solo or as part of a wider ensemble.

The collection of pre-installed songs - which includes festive classics such as Deck The Halls and Auld Lang Syne - has been created using an algorithm based on counterpoint melody, a music theory technique that involves using two or more independent melodies that complement each other (a bassline and synth lead would be one contemporary example).

Teenage Engineering Choir

(Image credit: Teenage Engineering)

Once a song has been chosen, each doll’s performance can be started by tapping its head or giving it a light tap on the table, while tilting a doll left or right will decrease or increase its volume. “If it gets annoying, it can handle a little smack to turn it off,” says Teenage Engineering.

Each doll has a unique ‘personality’ and is made from solid beech. In true babushka style, the speaker/CPU can be found inside, while each doll is rechargeable and offers up to four hours of performance time.

Even by Teenage Engineering’s standards, the Choir is an audacious release, and feels more like an art project than a product with any genuine commercial viability. The dolls are very much for sale, though, priced at £249 each. And yes, that does mean that, if you want the full set of eight, you’ll be shelling out close to two grand.

We’re sort of glad to be living in a world where things like this exist, though: find out more on the Teenage Engineering website.

Teenage Engineering Choir

(Image credit: Teenage Engineering)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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