Swedish Engineer Creates The Commodordion

You have to appreciate someone who can find new uses for old technology instead of sending it to a landfill.  In this case we have a Swedish software engineer named Linus Åkesson who has created a fully functioning electronic accordion. The Commodordion was built using with two Commodore 64 Computers, Floppy Disks, and tape (plus some other electronic components). Sure sounds like something MacGyver would come up with.

Åkesson—a versatile musician himself—can actually play the Commodordion in real time like a real accordion. He plays a melody with his right hand on one C64 keyboard and controls the chord of a rhythm and bass line loop (that he can pre-record using the flip of a switch) using his left hand on the other keyboard.

A fair amount of custom software engineering and hardware hackery went into making the Commodordion possible, as Åkesson lays out in a post on his website. It builds off of earlier projects (that he says were intentionally leading up to this one), such as the Sixtyforgan (a C64 with spring reverb and a chromatic accordion key layout) and Qwertuoso, a program that allows live playing of the C64’s famous SID sound chip.

The Commodore 64 was my second computer (first was the VIC-20) growing up before finally getting a hand-me down PC in the late 80’s. For its time the Commodore 64 was an incredible computer (compared to an IBM PC). Built-in Keyboard, 64K of memory with an 8-Bit BASIC operating system. It was ready to go out of the box, though you did need to connect it to a Commodore (CRT) Monitor (with built-in speakers). If you wanted to run and save programs you would need an external floppy drive about the size of a toaster. But, you didn’t need to worry about adding/upgrading the video (CGA was the standard on PC’s), sound (not the greatest, but far better than PC’s at the time) or even the memory. To the kids today complaining how long it takes to download their games from the Internet: When I was your age we didn’t have the Internet we had Online Service Providers (aka CompuServe, America Online and Prodigy) and downloading anything tied up your phone line for hours. So, we really didn’t download our games. Instead we went to a physical store and purchased the software. Once we got home, fired up the Commodore then waited and waited as the software loaded into memory from the floppy disk (no hard drives at that time).

Some may say Linus has way too much time on his hands, but everyone needs a hobby.  It just so happens his is building a functioning accordion from old computer parts.

via Ars Technica | The Commodordion