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Musical Tesla Coil (also known as “Singing Tesla Coil”) videos are pop music cover songs that are performed by modulating the spark output of a Singing Tesla Coil, a variation of solid state Tesla coil which also serves as a plasma speaker. Since being introduced at the South by South West Festival in 2007, dozens of Tesla Coil-based musical performance videos by amateur hobbyists have been uploaded onto YouTube.
The first application of Tesla Coil in musical performance was developed by ArcAttack, an electronic music duo of Joe DiPrima and Oliver Greaves based in Austin, Texas, with the help of Illinois-based veteran Tesla coiler Steve Ward in late 2005. The duo formally formed their band in March 2006 and began performing local shows with the singing Tesla Coil.
The term “Singing Tesla Coil” was coined almost two years later by David Nunez, the coordinator of the Austin, Texas chapter for the electronic art convention Dorkbot, while introducing ArcAttack’s presentation at the South by South West (SXSW) Festival in 2007. A video of the performance (shown above) was uploaded via YouTube on May 31st, 2007 and it has since received nearly 2 million views as of July 2012.
The term “Singing Tesla Coil” was sbusequently referenced in an article about ArcAttack’s performance published by the tech news site CNET in March 2007. Following ArcAttack’s SXSW performance in March 2007, Steve Ward went onto present his own music show using the singing Tesla coil at the 2007 DucKon, an annual science fiction convention held in Chicago, Illinois. A video of clip of Ward’s demonstration was subsequently uploaded via YouTube on June 21st, 2007. The video has gained more than 2.1 million views in the span of five years.
Another video of Ward’s Tesla coil playing the tune of Super Mario Bros. theme at the 2007 Lightning on the Lawn Teslathon in Baraboo, Wisconsin was uploaded on October 11th, 2007. The video has received more than 1.7 million views. Another video of Tesla coil performing the intro theme of 2001: A Space Odyssey at Penguicon 2008 was uploaded on April 22, 2008.
On March 7th, 2008, Mark Smart presented a Tesla coil musical concert at the University of Illinois, a video of which was uploaded onto YouTube on March 28th later that same month.
After a number of Tesla Coil music videos went viral on YouTube, many of which were original performances by ArcAttack, several other amateur Tesla coil hobbyists launched their own musical projects, including the Eastern Volt Research, Tesla Orchestra and Tesla Music Band among others.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
In 2010, Disney released the fantasy adventure film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice staring Nick Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer. In the movie, Jerry plays a physicist who studies Tesla coils. While listening to his love interest DJing while working, Jerry’s character discovers that the coils produce sound waves just like his love interest’s music. In a later scene, Jerry’s character attempts to “woo” his love interest by preforming a Tesla coil show with songs “Superstition” by Steve Wonder and “Secrets” by OneRepublic.
Open Spark Project
Open Spark Project is a user participatory online project launched by the group Tesla Orchestra, which takes song requests from the visitors and play them through their two large Tesla Coil machines. In May 2011, Open Spark Project presented a 40-minute long performance of various songs recommended by the participants, a video of which was uploaded via YouTube on May 18th, 2011. The second annual event is scheduled to be held on July 7th, 2012.
Huffington Post – Tesla Coil Music: ‘Girl Talk’ Played In Electricity