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Go to the woods of Kyushu, Japan. Engineer a massive xylophone (or is it a marimba?) to run down the slope of a forested hill. Take a wooden ball, place it at the top of said instrument, and push it. What do you get? Bach's treatment of a traditional church hymn! Namely, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

And, all this for a Japanese commercial for a kidney-shaped smartphone with the tagline, "Touch Wood." I may be late to the party on this one, but when I think of all the time it took to set this up, the precision and measurements used to adjust it and actually make each piece, and how many takes the film crew shot, it continues to inspire even if it's a year old.

And, here you can see how it was made:

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788 Comments

Simply ingenious and so very beautiful as well. If you ever want to win $250k, you should enter this masterful work of art in Grand Rapids, MI's ArtPrize.
Very well done!

Clever idea. The digital music contrasts with nature, but this is just a whimsical thing. I'm sure there will be another one coming. Great ideas come from just things like this.

Love this and used it to show students another avenue for a career in music. There had to be some musician who was the overseerer for this project! Yeah!

As a musician, I've found many professional musicians to be quite off-key, horrible songwriters, and quite egotistical. I think that some non-musicians can have a deeper and more educated appreciation of music than some musicians. I thought this was magically original, even with a song we all know.

Love this.

No matter what anyone says -
God's that 's good !

Fabulous

Spectacular!

My heart skipped with joy at the end of this video. Both funny and contemplative and a wonder of wood working. I work with wood every day "making" the places we inhabit.. what a joy to see the creative way wood can sing to us, Thank You

Thank you, thank you, Krista Tippet, for. Everything...

just too beautiful!!! so very clever!

"Ode to Joy" is one of the most beautiful, uplifting pieces of music ever written. However, it was written by Beethoven, not by Bach. I believe it was the last movement of his 9th Symphony, but not positive. I think this setup with wood, in the woods was spectacular. Most of you probably do not care who wrote it. For me, it was amazing I knew something that sounds so cultured, so I had to tell you!

Sorry, but this is not "Ode to Joy", it is "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" by J. S. Bach.

Everything about this presentation is absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Simply wonderful!

This video is fascinating. That is a LOT of work involved for the music, but it was worth it!!

This is the most infuriating video I have seen in a while. In the name of commercialism, how many trees were wasted to make this totally unnecessary video? Talk about environmental elitism for the liberal left because it touches the heart and therefore must be okay. At what point do you people engage the brain?

Fantastic prediction a Guinness record to awarded.

I appreciate the engineering and keen ear for exactly the right note as well as the team work this required. Well done!

awesome! What a work of love!

Excellent!

Much ingenious ado about nothing. Aurally, unrecognisable as Bach's Motet.

Excellant, none can beat Japan.

Like any kind of art, music is subjective. It's whatever resonates the heartstrings of the individual. I personally think this is brilliant!! Every piece of wood had to be finely tuned to a certain note, and masterminded into absolute precision to bring Bach's work alive. In nature there is music in the wind, raindrops on water, sounds of feet clicking on twigs and leaves, chirping of birds and animals talking to each other. I love the point that one little wooden ball takes us back to simpler times when music wasn't provided through a digital device, but as nature originally intended it to be. The Japanese are precision masters, and they took the time to produce this while others only dream to do something so beautiful.

Wondrously beautiful

Amazing!

If ever there was a doubt that music...good classical music...had the power to draw people of the world together in universal friendship and understanding, this labor of love should dispel it. To all the conceivers/designers, musicians and workers that created this wonderful instrument, my warmest thanks. To the company that sponsored and financed this video, I extend best wishes and hope that your sales far exceed expectations. We could wish that American advertisers would return to pleasant music and be merciful to their audiences! Aregato.

What's funny to me is how so many people feel the need to say 'what a grump!' to the person who didn't like it. Comments like 'get over yourself' and 'to hell with professional musicians' reveal a sort of reactive intellectual hostility towards naysayers and someone having a contrasting view... The guy's just saying that he didn't love the freakin' television commercial... C'mon people!

the little ball that could.!

Watch the videoo once to see the how then play it again, close your eyes, see the ball roll in your minds eye and just listen.

Wonderful would love to be there and experience it all

gravity has played a big part in music, so this is not so far removed. I love the unexpectedness of the project, and hearing a familiar melody ( one of my favorites ) in an unusual rendering adds a sense of discovery. It is both familiar and surprising.

There are wind chimes in my neighborhood, and I enjoy that too. Water in streams makes sounds with the help of gravity. Music as we know it began with natural sounds and natural materials.

So beautiful and filled with the love and care it took to create.

It is like an approach to literature. Once the author pens the lines does he own it or does the reader? And then what difference does it make to you?

Amazing--someone clearly had too much time on his hands.

What a waste of a major event...this is fabulous and should have been viewed by MANY!!!

Oh, superb! Thank you! What a treat!

Japan's own native music is nothing like this, but the Japanese have, in recent years, become well-known throughout the world for their interpretations of western music, particularly Bach. The idea of creating a self-playing xylophone (marimba?) operated entirely by gravity to play this particular piece was a flash of genius. Any nation could have produced the skills to make it, but the Japanese THOUGHT of it. Perhaps the next stage would be to have a second instrument alongside this one to play the chorale melody, to which this piece forms the accompaniment!

I loved it! (I'm an engineer by profession, and an amateur organist in my retirement)

Wonderful way to teach a child visually as well as audibly the magic of music and time

That's cool

A master piece indeed! BRAVO!!

Seriously! You can't see the forest through the trees! This is God inspired creativity. A brilliant mind thought this up. It was first, so intriguing to watch wondering how could someone think this; second, the music added to the experience as I watched the ball roll in total amazement of how creative people are. Tree huggers, I have a question, "Was man made for the tree or tree made for man?"

What a wonderful and beautiful feat of engineering!!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Incredible!

I was smiling after a month of gloom. It wasn't perfect, but who cares?
It brought a glimmer of happiness to me and maybe a stray deer.

This is more beautiful than all the times I have performed it on my flute or on my piano. Thank you so much to all the creators of this beautiful masterpiece. Bach would have been astounded!. :-)

I found the creativity of the whole project very inspiring. The tuning of each piece of wood must have been painstaking. Assuring each piece was in the proper location took musical ability. Overall it was impressive. However, after a short time, the speed of the song and the clankyness did get slightly annoying. I understand both sides here. Yes it is enjoyable for it's creativity and peacefulness and at the same time, it is also musically annoying. Please allow everyone to have their own opinion on the project and don't judge others if it doesn't line up with your opinion.

If you know the title of the work, it is a sign of the times as to what is worshipped today as compared to the joy of Bach's heart. (and kidneys are considered the heart in some cultures!)

Absolutely LOVE this, thank you!!

Over the course of visiting hundreds of art galleries and art shows I developed the notion that there is no bad art. There is art that I personally don't like, but with that assessment I realized that others may have a different opinion The basic foundation of why I say there is no bad art is this one fact - I couldn't do better - which for me is sad since I love art so much yet have less than zero ability in art. This display with the little wooden ball is, I am sure you will agree with, an art form, and in this case a very interesting and charming art form. Coupling the display with music made it immensely pleasing to me and I hope other feel the same.

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