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Metronomic syncage enjoyability
May 3, 2008 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Very pleasing video of five metronomes syncing
posted by TheDonF (42 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a great metaphor for something, but I can't quite figure out what.
posted by googly at 9:08 AM on May 3, 2008


Mickey Hart figured out what years ago; he compared this phenomenon -- "entrainment" -- to what used to happen in a roomful of dancers and trippers when the Grateful Dead played.

This is great!
posted by digaman at 9:12 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Entrainment (physics).
Entrainment (biomusicology).
posted by digaman at 9:14 AM on May 3, 2008


If you like that, you may also enjoy this, from here.
posted by interrobang at 9:20 AM on May 3, 2008 [58 favorites]


I'd like to respond to this post as someone I imagine is from medieval times: What kind of sorcery... !
posted by starman at 9:20 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's pleasing, yes. But very pleasing? I dunno about that.
posted by dobbs at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2008


Metafilter: It's pleasing, yes. But very pleasing? I dunno about that.
posted by digaman at 9:43 AM on May 3, 2008


Truth in advertising. That was indeed very pleasing.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:45 AM on May 3, 2008


CONFORM
posted by zsazsa at 9:51 AM on May 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Big deal! I could do that too if I had 5 metronomes and a plank and 2 soda cans. And a striped shirt. And an awkward stance.

Actually, that was way cooler than I expected. I liked it so much I called my daughter into the room to show her. Her response: "Wow, dad. You're a nerd."
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:51 AM on May 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


Is this Steve Reich's new "Music for 5 Metronomes" piece?
posted by False Jesii Inc. at 10:06 AM on May 3, 2008


Yes, it truly was a very pleasing video.
posted by Dizzy at 10:14 AM on May 3, 2008


Yes, it truly was a very pleasing video.

Its pleasingness gave me a happy ending.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:19 AM on May 3, 2008


Very pleasing video of five metronomes syncing a guy's crotch.
posted by DU at 10:19 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


steven strogatz talks about this in _sync_ :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Very nice modern example of Huygen's sympathetic oscillation.
posted by datacenter refugee at 10:26 AM on May 3, 2008


this is very pleasing, and the thing interrobang linked to is awesome!
posted by snofoam at 11:02 AM on May 3, 2008


How has that whitney music box thing never been a FPP! That was awesome.
posted by GuyZero at 11:11 AM on May 3, 2008


Organic entrainment.
posted by kozad at 11:22 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you think thats cool, try doing it to your brain
posted by MetaMonkey at 11:23 AM on May 3, 2008


I liked that one part.
posted by trip and a half at 11:24 AM on May 3, 2008


Is this the same thing that causes a platoon marching across a bridge to make the bridge shake and destruct through synchronized sympathetic vibrations -- which is why soldiers break from marching in step when crossing bridges (smallish long bridges I guess)?
posted by binturong at 11:28 AM on May 3, 2008


What I want to know is what's up with that one metronome, the second from the left. It seems to get it, then just breaks off wildly. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? CONFORM! I picture a large assembly line, dedicated to producing exactly the same thing, over again, metronomes without deviation, when into the factory late at night comes some mischievious elf, The Metro Gnome, and he must make it just a little bit ... off. Each one of them goes out into the world and produces a chain of bad drummers and lousy piano students.

The Metro Gnome is, of course, white, because that invisible knapsack does not contain rhythm.
posted by adipocere at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


These metronomes, they're syncing together?.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:49 PM on May 3, 2008


too bad about the door opening and closing in the background.

interesting momentary convergence, then all metronomes continue doing their own thing, in their own beat.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:56 PM on May 3, 2008


Heh! I purposely didn't put 'together' in my link, it's more than a little redundant.
posted by TheDonF at 12:59 PM on May 3, 2008


GuyZero: How has that whitney music box thing never been a FPP! That was awesome.

It was posted ages ago by tellurian, who, I might add, is a gentleman and a scholar. The anticipation I experience during the 15 seconds before all the dots cross the line together is intense and the climax extremely satisfying.
posted by Kattullus at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2008


Very pleasing. One can't help but wonder what Beethoven would have been capable given access to four extra metronomes, a plank, and two soda cans.
posted by No-sword at 4:50 PM on May 3, 2008


Don't forget the striped shirt.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:55 PM on May 3, 2008


It's even more fun when phasing is done with instruments. Or Pez dispensers.
posted by inoculatedcities at 8:16 PM on May 3, 2008


There used to be a venue in Brisbane, Australia called Cloudland ballroom. I saw many good bands there, Clash, Echo and the Bunnymen, Midnight Oil, Madness etc etc. The place was built in the 40's and many a US serviceman would date a local girl by taking her to a dance there. It had the largest suspension dance floor in the world, and for genteel ballroom dance style it gave the impression of floating on air. Later in it's life when rock bands played it was like being on the worlds largest trampoline. You would bounce in incredible unison with two or three thousand others. An amazing feeling.
posted by mattoxic at 9:37 PM on May 3, 2008


THE METRONOMES WANT TO BE FREE!
posted by mazola at 9:52 PM on May 3, 2008


Actually, that was way cooler than I expected. I liked it so much I called my daughter into the room to show her. Her response: "Wow, dad. You're a nerd."

"That's right, honey. Now let me tell you about genetics."
posted by Mikey-San at 10:21 PM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes. This was great. And so was that dude's belly.
posted by not_on_display at 11:24 PM on May 3, 2008


Mikey-San: so, nature over nurture eh? either way, though...
posted by russm at 11:34 PM on May 3, 2008


Very nice modern example of Huygen's sympathetic oscillation.
We also find an outcome that Huygens never mentions, in which one or both pendulum motions die out--a state we call ``beating death''. Huygens may not have observed beating death because his clock systems were heavily weighted (a by-product of the maritime design--the weighting was necessary to keep the clocks upright when at sea). Beating death happens less often as the system mass is increased. For a system mass comparable to those of Huygens' studies, we observe only antiphase synchronization.
Mmm.. beating death.
posted by odinsdream at 7:19 AM on May 4, 2008


This is great! I expect to add this to my collection of physics demonstration toys, right up there with the magnet down the aluminum pipe.

Several people have mentioned Huygens' observation of this phenomenon. A couple years ago I read in some report on undergraduate physics research projects about an effort to quantify what sorts of couplings between two pendulum clocks allow this type of synchrony to develop. (Oh! I guess it's this paper, linked to above in this thread. I had seen press, but this is the first time I've read the paper.) While those students successfully got the clocks to sync up, it only happened for a surprisingly narrow range of couplings: for most combinations of mass and springiness for the board(s) connecting the two clocks, the clocks remained independent of each other. So it surprised me how fast the metronomes in these videos synchronize, and how robust it seems to be.

Using metronomes offers lots of freedom to explore the parameter space. How close do the frequencies of the two metronomes have to be? What if you want to set up a synced pair where the frequency ratio isn't 1:1, but 1:2 or 2:3 or something else? How much does this depend on the frequency stability of the metronome? (Maybe the Georgia Tech students concluded that Huygens was lucky to have seen his clocks sync up because they used modern clocks with better frequency stability?) Are there other phases possible?

There's a lot of physics here. Time to start shopping for old mechanical metronomes.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:21 AM on May 4, 2008


That's hardcore. Do they all sync up because of the rocking motion by the 2 cans?
posted by upick at 3:20 AM on May 5, 2008


I like how long it took number 2 to get on board with the whole syncopation thing. Because in any good band, there will always be a bad boy who will go against the grain.

He's the one that the chicks always get all dreamy over, and will get put into all the teen magazines.

But at the end of the day, it's all about the music, and he will fight and fight but eventually, he'll finally accede that, for the good of the band, he's gotta play along.

Metronome 2 is a bad-ass rebel.
posted by quin at 9:40 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


OMG am I the only one who saw the bear walking behind the guy?
posted by oats at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


You would bounce in incredible unison with two or three thousand others.

Sounds like the bleachers at RFK Stadium in DC. Pretty neat, if a bit scary.
posted by inigo2 at 7:34 AM on May 6, 2008


Hmm! That's interesting, 53 favorites for this comment, 10 for my post. I wondered where those recent ones were coming from (thanks Kattullus, you're too kind - neither scholar or gentleman, but I thank you for saying so.)
posted by tellurian at 9:19 AM on May 10, 2008


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