Tesla Coils Playing the Mario Bros Theme are Unsurprisingly Awesome

I'm as surprised as you are that this is the second video-game-themed Tesla coil post I'm doing in as many days, but this is too cool to pass up. These two Tesla coils are playing the original Mario Bros theme song - and there are no speakers involved.

Twin Solid State Musical Tesla coils playing Mario Bros theme song at the 2007 Lightning on the Lawn Teslathon sponsored by DC Cox (Resonance Research Corp) in Baraboo WI. The music that you hear is coming from the sparks that these two identical high power solid state Tesla coils are generating. There are no speakers involved. The Tesla coils stand 7 feet tall and are each capable of putting out over 12 foot of spark. They are spaced about 18 feet apart. The coils are controlled over a fiber optic link by a single laptop computer. Each coil is assigned to a midi channel which it responds to by playing notes that are programed into the computer software.


[YouTube via Make via CrunchGear]

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for those that are curious about how this works, I looked this up when I first saw a couple of these clips cause I was going to make one. Turns out the theory behind it is pretty simple.

The tesla coil shoots out lightning, whatever. the humming of the electricity is ALWAYS at 120hz, the frequency of the juice coming out of the wall its plugged into. The ELECTRICITY is always at 120hz. BUT:

They turn the coil on/off at a high sample rate. This takes the sound coming from the coil to the high amplitude, and low amplitude alternating obviously, faster than 120hz. this means that they can effectively change the frequency of the sound that we hear. If any of you are electrically inclined, its like trying to turn the 120hz into a series of impulse functions to change the frequency domain.