Music of the Gears

Plinth Dates: 27 September – 2 October 2011

Music of the Gears

Music of the Gears by Alex Allmont

This clockwork orrery simulates a fictitious solar system that slowly turns three planetary bodies around a sun. Upon completing an orbit each planet chimes a Tibetan singing bowl and, as the speeds of their revolutions differ, this generates a unique out-of-phase melody that is deterministic but which can appear random.

The machine is powered by gravity and as the weight falls its motion is gated by the flying pendulum escapement mechanism. The rewinder resets the machine every 5 minutes.

This piece was made by Oxford Brookes University student Alex Allmont who has developed a number of LEGO Technic kinetic sculptures exploring accidental music and complex systems. See his other work at

The machine is extremely fragile – please do not touch!

You can see the orrery in action in the following video.

Music of the Gears from Alex Allmont on Vimeo.