The Technology of Music

Ancient Chinese Instrument Plays Mario Bros. Theme

ThreeQuarter_ShengWhen you actually start looking back through some of the more obscure bits of history, it really is astonishing how many things that we think of as fairly modern, have actually been around for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, for instance, had a pretty good grasp on the workings of the cosmos, were able to do some remarkable things with gunpowder, and played Super Mario Brothers.

Okay, I can’t prove that last one. But how else do you explain the uncanny resemblance of the sounds this instrument makes to the actual sounds from the Nintendo classic game? The instrument itself is called the “Sheng”, and it dates back beyond 1000 BC. This performer is playing on a much more modern keyed version, but the sound — and the principle of playing it — remains largely the same. Clearly, we’re all just making cheap copies of Chinese products.