I noticed there's a lot of drum machines out there, but they're all electrical. Is the metronome the closest thing to a mechanical drum? and by mechanical I mean, there's no batteries/electricity involved.

I noticed most metronomes sound the same. I'm wondering if there's a metronome that sounds more like a drum and can produce rhythm, but is still mechanical and somewhat portable.

  • 2
    Well, a clockwork monkey would be very close too ;-)
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 29, 2018 at 20:42
  • People make mechanical drum machines, but mostly what I've seen is one-offs by hobbyists. I haven't seen anything like that from North American music distributors as a commercial product. I found a few projects by searching for mechanical or analogue drum machine. Jul 29, 2018 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Does a tractor count? You don't need any electricity after having started a reasonably aged one.

Which boils down to the principal problem: you need an energy source. Combustion engines like the one used here are not useful for indoor use. If you use electricity for running a mechanism, using electronics saves a lot of mass and trouble even though loudpeakers cannot hold a candle to the effiency of musical instruments regarding converting energy to sound. But they are much more universal.

Nevertheless, there are "mechanical orchestras" running on pneumatics controlled by piano-roll type programs. You can run some of them on man power and/or some clockwork but they'll be a really hefty workout.

A metronome usually has more of a "wood block" kind of sound rather than drums with a concentrated peak of sound energy. It's actually easy to wind up, but it doesn't actually run for all that long.

  • too bad someone hasn't come up with the same concept as a metronome, ie a wound up spring/pendulum, and just have different sounds.
    – user34288
    Jul 30, 2018 at 13:45
  • @foreyez you need to get out more :-) :-) . I bet you can find dozens, if not hundreds, of Wind-up musical instruments, including percussion. Jul 30, 2018 at 13:58
  • @CarlWitthoft I searched there isn't. only thing that is mechanical that compares with a drum is a metronome. but if u know any drumetronomes please share a link. (please note that I have invented a word)
    – user34288
    Jul 31, 2018 at 1:05

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