Darbuka band

This robotic band has just the right amount of drums. [Liat] and her colleagues fit a group of Darbuka drums with a pair of servo-driven mallets. We’re quite surprised that the servo motors achieve such a successful strike and rebound without dampening the vibrations of the drum head. This is more often accomplished with solenoids because of their quick response and relative strength.

You can listen to a performance of this work-in-progress in the video after the break or make plans to see it live. The installment was built for the Bat-Yam international biennale of landscape urbanism. It will be attached to, and powered by alternative energy producers like solar cells and wind turbines.


  1. svofski says:

    A strange choice of instrument for actuators/transducers like these? The darbukas are not meant to be hit with sticks, their sound in the video cries it out loud.

  2. danman says:

    Very nice! Impressive!

  3. tsadowski says:

    [svofski] I agree completely. They are also not meant to sit flat on the floor like that, that greatly affects the timbre of the drum making it sound flat. The two together and I wonder why they didn’t just use a more modern drum, especially since they sound like snares with the snare turned off!

    Other than that I appreciate the concept!

  4. chris says:

    No there is a case in point were just a little de-synchronisation could be just the ticket…

  5. Fallen says:

    :S Sounds like noise to me.

  6. haineux says:


    Alas, the original site is long gone.

  7. Mike says:

    It’s like minions of evil robot drummers. Excellent…

    Pretty awesome, except as tsadowski mentioned it’s the wrong application of the drum.

  8. Hirudinea says:

    Needs more Cowbell.

  9. spyder_21 says:

    I like the concept, but try it on deep bass drums

  10. Scouris says:

    From the Youtube video description, they say the drums will be mounted on the wind generator arms, which may mean that they produce a different timbre than in the video.

  11. jaded says:


    You’re absolutely right. The robotic synchronization ruins the richness of the sound.

    Perhaps “ruins” is too strong of a word. But I don’t care for the sound they produce, and would much prefer the organic sound of human drummers. Nothing they couldn’t fix in the inputs to this, of course, but until then it’s like listening to any other mechanical device, instead of listening to music.

  12. jonathan says:

    These are only the very first runs of the system.
    Actually, it produces quite an impressive deep bass sound – which is not captured by our mic.. Also, in the planned installation, the drums will be hanged three meters above the ground.
    Future videos will follow :)

  13. Eirinn says:

    Sooooooul it needs soouuuuuuul – interesting project though.

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