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Incredible Music Machine Prank - University of Iowa

Summary:
Email forward claims that an attached video shows an incredible music machine made from farm equipment at the University of Iowa (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - Video is a computer animation

Example:(Submitted, October 2009)
Subject:: Fw: An Unusual Musical Instrument

http://www.animusic.com/news/hoax-email.php http://www.animusic.com/downloads/index.php University of Iowa Farm Machine Music

Turn your sound on for this. Read this first, then watch.

This is almost unbelievable. See how all of the balls wind up in catcher cones.

This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft Iowa. Yes farm equipment!

It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment, Calibration and tuning before filming this video but as you can see it was WELL worth the effort.

It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.






Commentary:
A video that supposedly shows an incredible music machine created out of farm equipment is circulating via email and online. The video itself is certainly an incredible and inspiring piece of work. However, it is a work of computer animation and does not depict a real machine made of farm equipment or anything else. The video is a piece called Pipe Dream that was created by Wayne Lytle, and Dave Crognale and their team at Animusic, a content creation company located in Austin, Texas.

The company has created a number of quite amazing 3D computer graphics music animation videos that are available via the company website. According to information on the Animusic website:
Both the graphics and the music are entirely digitally synthesized. Virtual instruments are invented by building computer graphics models of objects that would appear to create the sound of the corresponding music synthesizer track. Graphical instruments range from being reminiscent of existing instruments to arbitrarily abstract.
Apparently, some unknown prankster saw fit to create a fanciful tale to go along with the unusual video. Even the university departments named in the message appear to be fictitious. There is no record of the "Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory" or the "Sharon Wick School of Engineering" at the University of Iowa or anywhere else. According to an article about the prank email on Iowa's KCRG:
The machine is supposedly a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering but if you search the campus high and low youíll never find either of those buildings. They donít exist.
There is no need to malign this fantastic animation by tacking on a foolish and totally fictitious cover story. Such clever work speaks for itself and needs no embellishment. Moreover, the real creators of the animation deserve credit for their genius. If you receive this email forward, please let the sender know the true origin of the "farm machine music" video.

References:
Animusic Home Page
Animusic - DVD Info & Clips - Animusic 1
Animusic - Company
Hoax Targets U of I

Last updated: 29th October 2009
First published: 7th December 2006

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen