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Fountains have come a long way since they were first created in ancient times. A musical fountain is an animate fountain that creates entertainment and aesthetic value. Fountains are able to do this by combining the effects of timed sound waves and timed light against the water particles. The particle retracts and reflects the light, allowing designers to create three dimensional images.

Creating one of these fountains can involve a large scale enterprise, with hundreds of water jets and lights. These large fountains can cost millions of dollars to create. Smaller household fountains can add the same effect on a smaller scale, costing a budget of under a thousand dollars. To add the musical element, it requires hydraulic, mechanical, electrical, and electronic components. If these can be mastered the finished product will be a masterpiece to behold. There are many fountains all over the world that are choreographed to music. The earliest fountains actually feature a live operator who controlled switches and valves form a control operator. Music was live as well. As technology improved the music could be played from a CD, but the choreography was almost always done by hand still. It was not until very recently that unattended automatic choreography advanced over manual programming.
The idea of dancing water fountains creates a stunning display of water and lights. The dancing water fountains work by using single speed pumps that do not offer variable water heights; the musical fountains of this variety are some of the first that feature the simple elegance of a water show.

Fountains improved dramatically over time, the 1963 International Fountain for the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle, featured the original design of changing water and light patterns, with classical music playing. This fountain was redesigned in 1996 to be more appealing and inviting, as well as more interactive and safe. The colored lights were replaced with white lights, and fog nozzles were added. It still performs similarly to how the old fountain did, but at the mark of each hour another effect happens, like fog or a choreographed show.

The Fountains at the Bellagio Hotel are also an exciting water feature that is well known around the world. These fountains are in a manmade lake, and form a pair of concentric rings, a long curved arc, and two smaller circles attached at each end. The fountain is outlined in shooters, which allow the arc and circles to rise as a column creating a curtain of water, while a it also creates sequences of high-speed water chases. The fountain will perform everyday on the half hour, and in the evening every quarter hour. The Bellagio has a team of dice-certified engineers ready at all times to maintain the fountains systems. These shows are still choreographed by hand. Computers do aid the process, but it takes engineers months to work on each performance before it can be added to the rotation of shows.

The Dubai fountain is the largest musical fountain project in the world. Located on the manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, it includes 25 colored projectors, 6600 lights, fog, and fire. There are shots of water fired into the air that are accompanied by a range in music from classical to contemporary. This fountain cost $218 million dollars. Finally, one of the greatest examples of this type of fountain is Disney’s World of Color. This new nighttime show is located in Disneyland, California. The entire show cost $75,000,000 to build, design, and create. It took roughly 15 months to assemble and install this show. This show features of 1,200 fountains, which include lights, fire, fog, lasers, and high definition projections that are played on the mist screens.

These are some of the many fountains that provide the stunning display of water in motion mixed with music. The combination creates an exciting and delightful event for the whole family.