The programming of musical dancing fountains

A symphony of creativity, technology and sustainability
The programming of musical dancing fountains

The programming of the musical dancing fountains is a symphony of creativity, technology and sustainability that combines with the magic of water and light to transform the surrounding world into a unique and exciting show. If we could create a world map of fountains, we would discover various continents, each representing a different typology: walls of water, biolakes, mirrored fountains, floor fountains, raised basin fountains, dynamic fountains, static fountains and musical dancing fountains. The latter, the musical dancing fountains, would be “the new world“, the latest explored, characterized by an unprecedented experimental and technological charm. To strengthen their explosive primacy, the internet allows videos of majestic and imposing dancing fountains to go viral, offering creative ideas to designers and entrepreneurs.

Among the most famous musical dancing fountains we have the Font Màgica (Magic Fountain) in Barcelona and the Dubai Fountain (Dubai Mall – Burj Khalifa Lake). The latter is a real hydro-choreographic system that extends for 275 meters, offering a spectacle of dancing water jets that reach a height of 140 meters illuminated by 6,600 lights. Also in Dubai, until May 2023, it was possible to admire the largest musical dancing fountain in the world, The Palm Fountain, which animated The Pointe district, on the Palm Jumeirah seafront, with its shows based on pop music and songs by local singers.


To see one of these fountains there is no need to go abroad, because from October 2023 at the Port of Palermo, at the brand new Palermo Marina Yachting, it is possible to admire Marina, the largest musical dancing fountain in Italy, created and programmed by us of Forme d’Acqua.


To create a musical dancing fountain you need to go beyond common knowledge in the plumbing and electrical fields, broadening your range of skills towards technology, innovation and programming. In addition to the “concrete” side, which sees the state-of-the-art creation of the MEP parts, to fully discover and demonstrate the emotional and expressive capabilities of these fountains, there is a need to know how to program them and to choose the songs that best suit they lend to their shows.


Programming musical dancing fountains requires the use of software for creating multimedia shows. The market presents various solutions, which – depending on the budget available – offer various levels of display and management of the shows. They range from the most basic software, in which you only see the arrangement of the nozzles and choose the type of play water and lighting, to get to the most complete, such as Depence by Syncronorm, which allows the programmer to view the choreographies created in 3D format and to create photorealistic 3D video renderings. The enormous advantage of this software is the possibility of programming songs and scenarios in any place, time, or situation you find yourself, directly from your PC, without the need to have the fountain or a tank in front of you that reproduces its functioning, reducing in this reduces programming times and costs. Additionally, it is optimized for highly synchronized multimedia timecode shows, so the programmer can immediately focus on the design and see it faithfully represented on the screen in real-time.formedacqua-programmazionefontane-fontanedinamiche_fontanedanzanti-2-682x1024

The process of programming musical dancing fountains is a laboratory in which heterogeneous skills come together to create an extraordinary spectacle. Designers, electrical engineers, and music experts converge towards a common goal: to make the fountains real protagonists of an incredible performance.

As mentioned before, choosing the “right” songs is fundamental. Once the song has been identified, it is necessary to do the so-called “anatomy of a song”, analyzing how it is formed and whether it meets the key requirements to make it suitable for a musical dancing fountain. First of all there must be a dynamic, characterized by crescendos – both progressive and sudden – which allow the water choreographies to create “explosions”. Dynamic is the main expressive parameter: from a psycho-acoustic point of view, the management of the dynamics is the factor that affects the listener’s attention the most. A song with a homogeneous/”flat” dynamic it is suitable to be proposed as background music, while to create and give a show, there is a need for dynamic contrasts, which translate into emotions, anticipation and amazement.

To simplify the analysis of a piece of music, simply identify its structure by dividing it into sections, each of which is given the name of a letter (A-B-C- etc.), which usually corresponds to: Introduction – Verse – Chorus – The final. In some cases, other parts may also be present, such as bridge, coda, or solos, which break the verse/chorus alternation with new rhythmic and melodic elements that offer a more solid structure to the song. By dividing the piece in this way it is possible to create sequences or patterns, which create a basis for the structure of the show and therefore apply a schematization of the process in a complex series of factors, related to three essential poles: sender – message – receiver.


Once the song has been identified, we move on to the structure of the fountain and study the position and the effects obtainable from the nozzles and water features that compose it, so as to be able to “personify” the fountain by transforming it into an orchestra or a band, depending on its size. A large fountain is easier to relate to a symphony orchestra, a medium-sized one is more similar to a chamber orchestra, and smaller fountains recall a rock band. Thus the Crown Nozzle becomes the singer, the first round of nozzles takes on the role of the guitarist, the second round takes on the role of the drummer and the Jumping Jets follow the rhythms of the bass, but in the next song the roles are reversed and the choreography of water and lights is completely new.

In other cases, the fountain becomes a stage where a dancer and an entire dance troupe perform harmoniously: the jets sway, chase each other, jump and twirl, recreating the dancing movements with elegance and grace. Here technology comes into play: multiple jet nozzles, multidirectional nozzles, rotating modules, digital water screens, but also compressed air nozzles or nozzles that create jets of water at the peak of which a fireball is released. In addition to the nozzles, you need to know how to choose the right dynamic pumps, also including those with controllable speed drives that allow the creation of rapid sequences.

Attending the show of a dancing and musical fountain is a unique emotion, especially due to the fact that each song is illustrated in a different way and each jet represents something different, thanks to the professional application of lighting design. Light is fundamental for transmitting emotions, because it designs the architectural writing of the water and light show. To better understand this concept, it is necessary to watch a musical show during the day and the same show at night: in the comparison, it is clear how the color completely modifies the perception of the user and how the power of colors makes communication effective. So much so, some studies conducted in marketing psychology have reported that color influences 90% of the opinion a person develops about a product the first time they see it!


With the magic of water, light and music, the musical dancing fountains transform the surrounding world into a unique and exciting show: each water choreography intertwines and merges with the notes of the song, creating a perfect harmony that engages viewers. Each dancing fountain is like an opera: large or small, symphonic or rock, each time it takes on new roles and performs uniquely. Under the starry sky, in front of a dancing fountain, time seems to stop and the emotion becomes palpable. It should be underlined that these shows, when compared to fireworks, are equally spectacular, but what distinguishes them is sustainability: the fireworks release fine dust (mainly PM10) in very high quantities, increasing air pollution in approximately 42% of fine polluting particles, so much so that many states are adopting alternative solutions to safeguard the health of the environment and ecosystem.

Musical dancing fountains are the “new world”, where creativity, technology, and sustainability come together to give the public an engaging show and so, between one song and another, the world of fountains continues to evolve, bringing the charm of water in the eyes and hearts of the guests.


Susanna Dei Rossi

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