I was watching a demonstration video of a robotic vibraphone today on Gizmodo. It plays “Flight of the Bumblebee”, which is already a pretty fast piece, but does it a bit faster than normal. Impressive, but when you realize that it accomplishes this with independent actuators for each note (effectively having dozens of “hammers” where a human would be limited to a couple) it really becomes less amazing.
And then I came across absolutely staggeringly fast rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee by an honest to goodness human being. It is a Guinness book of World Records performance on the guitar by Tiago della Vega, and completely, utterly, and resoundingly trounces the robotic performance. Note that he actually performs the piece three times: at 170, 260, and 320 beats per minute: you have to watch to the end to see the fastest rendition.
Even if a machine ever exceeds this rate, I am left speechless by what the human machine can accomplish.