Before you start reading this article, go ahead and push play on Linus Åkesson's Youtube video I've embedded above. The madman who took a Commodore 64 and turned it into a Theremin has done it again, but this time it's double the C64 to make an amazing chip tuned accordion. If I hadn't already lost my mind over this man's last creation, it would be being absolutely blown to smithereens by this new wonder.
As reported by Fudzilla, this keyboard accordion does more than just play some seriously cool music, it also has quite a few modifications that make it a fascinating musical instrument. As per a normal accordion, the left side plays melodies while the right provides chords. But Åkesson has added a few extra features which are laid out on his website.
On this brilliantly named commodordion, the right side has also been built as a looping machine, allowing rhythms and chord progressions to not only be pre played and looped, but also adjusted on the fly. That's a wonderful idea for any accordion set up, even if it isn't made out of two old gaming machines.
Because of the addition of the machines, this accordion does require some form of power to make noise. To achieve this, Åkesson uses a custom power supply that boots both the C64s and loads specially written software onto both machines. This is all worked out so no display is required, and instead only beautiful music remains.
To get even nerdier, the bellows or middle squeezy part of the accordion is made of a whole lot of 5.25 floppy discs that have been sliced up and taped together. They control the volume of the accordion, and in this case there's a hole drilled into them. Just outside of the hole is a microphone that's picking up the air pushing out of the bellows, and adjusts the volume.
You can get a look at this process during the montage portion of the video, where you can witness the devastation of many floppy disks. There's also a full detailed explainer on how the instrument works in the tale section, which talks about the coding, power supply, and bellows microphone trick in much more detail.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of this project is that in its current form the commodordion isn't very practical. Åkesson explains that it's uncomfortable to play due to the weight as well as the position of the keys of the C64. Still, with such a great sound and well thought out use of a looping side, I'm hoping we'll see a more refined version someday down the line.
If you'd also like to see some more amazing instrument creations, supporting Åkesson is a proven way to make that happen. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel, and hit him up on Patreon or Steady.