We all want our very own personal bagpiper. Playing it ourselves is too much effort, and keeping a full time bagpiper around can be a pain. You have to feed them, clothe them, give them union breaks, etc. Luckily, modern technology has come to the rescue again. You can have your very own robot bagpiper. McBlare plays the bagpipe with technical proficiency that would be impossible for most humans. But lets hear it put some soul into it.
24 thoughts on “McBlare: A Robot Bagpipe Player”
No video? I didn’t see any on their website.
wow, the audio responses from people in the link are hilarious. They are sooo pissed. I think it has more to do with it being a machine than it being played poorly, which makes me wonder about building one and naming it so these peeps thought it was a person, would they have the same reaction?
Where do you see the comments? I’d love to read them.
That is freaking awesome.
The only thing that would make it cooler, and the next logical step, is to forget the air compressor pump and just make it generate the required pressure to play it from rapidly expanding gas (like burning propane for instance).
Mounted to a killbot, of course. For noisy crunchy happy flame-spewing death and mayhem fun what could be better? Every giant deathbot needs a set of bagpipes, especially extraordinarily loud flame-spitting ones.
well, when the machines rise up against us I’m sure one of these will be in the front ranks piping away some sort of battle dirge… Scottish terminators, god help us all.
For the love of God, wasn’t it bad enough when they invented the bagpipe in the first place?
Now they have to bring this abortion into the world….
Just kidding, this is pretty wicked.
NOW YOU CAN ANNOY THE HELL OUT OF UR NEIGHBOR 24/7!!!
Shame they chose Highland Bagpipes. There are plenty of better bagpipe choices…
Can a robotic accordion be far behind??
Hmmm…. now get to work on a robotic theremin!
Already been done! Twice at least I think, once with a really creepy baby doll. Wish I could remember the links. It’s actually pretty easy – you should definitely try it!
As a student at CMU, I’m accustomed to hearing the bagpipes play on campus but one day I heard bagpipes coming from another area.
Sounded human, turned out to be a robot. Best surprise ever.
Really, though, it sounds fantastic and looks awesome in person.
when i see this all i can think is some guy at activision thinking to himself…….I bet we can turn this into “bagpipe hero” and a billion idiot kids will buy it.
They really need to pipe the note information through something to add changes in speed, and timing. Many years ago it was part of my Sound Engineering course to take MIDI music and make it sound more natural in this way. It was very involved, but paid off; the bagpipe recordings sounds completely artificial.
You may want to check out this Synthtopia post, too: The Complete Guide To MIDI Bagpipes; Covering Practice Pipes, Robotic Bagpipers & The Frankenpipe
As a piper myself (and geek), I will say that it is definitely the quality of playing people are pissed at, NOT the fact it’s a robot. In fact, if McBlare went open source I’d have a battalion of these!
Q: What’s the difference between a bagpipe and a raw onion?
A: Nobody cries when you chop up a bagpipe.
Anyway, @merrick and @Josh, I agree totally. This sounds like old MIDI-generated music of the early 90s — very robotic, very precise, utterly dead. They might improve its sound if they recorded a human instead of just sequencing notes out of a machine, but I think the solenoid nature of the fingering will prevent this from ever sounding good. Bagpipes are one of the most “analog” instruments ever, and digitally precise notes don’t become it.
Maybe if they had used stepper motors or something else to more closely mimic human fingers, it’d help improve the sound greatly. But then again, this is “hack-a-day”, not “build-a-useful-musical-instrument-a-day”.
human pipers are painful enough to listen to, but at least you know that sooner or later they’ll die and peace will reign once more.
robot ones that don’t need to stop, ever?
i think hell has just dug a new, deeper, darker basement of pain.
i for one welcome out new tartan-clad robot overlords.
I feel the ornamentations are -too- congruent. with a human one would expect more variations especially due to the variations in fingers even with the best technique.
Check out Gordon Duncan, Stuart Liddel, 78th Frasier Highlanders, Oran Mor, or any other top rated/graded pipers/pipebands to listen to mechanical precision with human feeling.
Nothing against McBlare’s designers, they could have just used some better midi files!
Please, somebody can tune the drones and the chanter????? Argggghhhhhh.!!!!
reminds me of bedknobs and broomsticks, the pipers in the enchanted army fighting off the nazis.
Robots are stealing our jobs, dammit! :P This is great. I’ve played the pipes for 15 years. This is WAY easier, and it’s playing all the notes really well. Love it. Here’s a link to the video by the way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTVEZShillU
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