Ants Marching/Ode To Joy – 4 Guys, 3 min, 2 cellos, 1 piano – ThePianoGuys

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Many thanks to St George Tourism who helped make this video possible. Go check them out and help us give them thanks by visiting their website!
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We would also like to thank Tuacahn for their generosity in allowing us to film at their beautiful amphitheatre. To learn more about the shows that happen here, visit their website at

Story behind “Ants Marching/Ode to Joy”

Shout out to all the Dave Matthews Band fans out there! [rowdy clapping, screams and whistling] Shout out to all the Ludwig van Beethoven fans out there! [polite, respectful applause and coughs between movements] Now a shout out to all the DMB/Beethoven mash-up fans out there! [cricket … cricket …] Introducing … Ants Marching / Ode to Joy!

OK, so this tune started in sound check at one of our shows. We were playing around with that super catchy lick at the front end of DMB’s “Ants Marching.” Using a loop pedal we’d set up the chords then improv on top of them. It then evolved. We did things like mimic the snare hit on beats 2 and 4 using a padded piano bench. We created a unique fiddle-like sound by combining a 5 string electric cello and a bowed piano string (using a disassembled cello bow.) We used a myriad of muted piano and piano percussion sounds. Then we developed the loop effect farther so that 4 guys could play a lot more parts together.

Like most of our music, ALL OF THE SOUNDS YOU HEAR WERE CREATED BY PIANO & CELLO (with the help of a tambourine).
Ode to Joy crept its way in because, well, throwing classical licks into pop tune arrangements is one of the things we love to do, but we also loved that, though the two melodies melded well, the lyrics or “messages” of the two tunes starkly contrasted each other. Poetic irony, right? DMB’s tune talks of everyone doing the same thing (um…like ants marching) and implies a meaningless, despondent and monotonous isolation of human beings from one another, while Beethoven’s “tune” talks of friendship, brotherhood, interconnectedness, meaning, and, of course, joy.

We filmed this in ONE TAKE (meaning no cuts or alternative angles) using an octocopter with an attached gimbal (pivoted support). This allowed us to alternate between fly shots and glidecam-style shots. Jeremy Crawford and Frank Nelson (our “Piano Stunt Coordinators,” in addition to a long list of specialized roles within TPG) would catch, walk with, and then release the copter during the “take.” They wore motorcycle helmets as a safety precaution!

We performed this on one of the most incredible stages on Earth – Tuacahn Ampitheatre! …which happens to be in the TPG’s “hometown” of St. George Utah. We were positioned on a rotating island stage surrounded by running water, heavy fog, dramatic lights, pyrotechnics and majestic red rock mountains. Ya. It felt as epic as it sounds.

Hope you dig it! If you’ve read this far into the description then you are now inducted into the extremely elite and secretive group known, unofficially, as the DMB/Beethoven Mash-up Fan Club. We’ll send you your first secret message and decoder ring shortly.


“Ants Marching” as performed by DBM (Dave Matthews Band) written by Dave Matthews
“Ode to Joy” – melody from the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125
Arrangement produced and written by Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt, & Steven Sharp Nelson
Performed by the Piano Guys: Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt, Paul Anderson, & Steven Sharp Nelson
Mixed and Mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG studios in Utah

Video Directed by Shaye Scott
Aerial video by CineChopper. Learn to fly a camera at
Camera Stunt Operators: Jeremy Crawford & Frank Nelson
Production Assistance: Kyle Fisher, Addison Foote and Sean Pullan

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20 Responses

  1. capfogful says:

    I would love to go to the concert, they are coming to our country, but i
    cant afford it sorry guys

  2. Suzi Barbosa says:

    my god that was too much

  3. Gary Hageman says:

    That looks like the theater for le rêve in Las Vegas….

  4. Mykala Jaeschke says:

    4 Guys, 3 minutes, 2 cellos, 1 piano, 1 TAKE!

  5. Lydia Cavero says:

    This was awesome! Also a very beautiful setting. :)

  6. Jan Smetana says:

    According to end, where Paul catches Shay playing, we know what will be
    This is serious….

    Angry Birds Theme !!!! :D

  7. Kevin Arellano says:

    Pretty nice!!!

  8. Gerard Burns says:


  9. Forex Trading and Courses says:


  10. Austoniac66 says:

    Hahaha I like how Al just about ate it at the end there. Makes me laugh
    every time I watch it.

  11. James Nepomuceno says:


  12. Raaid Nehreen says:

    Ive just been inducted into a club!

  13. Jaqueline Ribeiro da Fonseca Sena says:

    eu amo thepianoguys, voceis são de mais. 

  14. annabibi418 says:

    This is so fun! I love the videos with all the guys performing. It just
    adds such a lighthearted feel! And ya’ll sound really good signing together
    P.S. Where’s my decoder ring? ;)

  15. Heloisa Beatriz Alegre says:

    touch too gotta be the same gift…

  16. Grisel Blanco says:

    Man, you guys freakin’ ROCK!!!! Love it when all 4 of you make amazing
    music together!!! ❤️

  17. mleigh42 says:

    How can they get it all sounding so great on a single take? Amazing. Way
    to go Guys.

  18. Chris Williams says:

    This was just too fantastic. Would love more DMB!

  19. cecil williams says:

    I love the

  20. Heather Armstrong says:

    Does anyone know why the Batman Evolution video was taken down?