This accordion made out of two C64s is a chip tune delight

Audio player loading…

Before you start reading this article, go ahead and push play on Linus Åkesson's Youtube video (opens in new tab) I've embedded above. The madman who took a Commodore 64 and turned it into a Theremin (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

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.

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming (opens in new tab): the top chips from Intel and AMD
Best graphics card (opens in new tab): your perfect pixel-pusher awaits
Best SSD for gaming (opens in new tab): get into the game ahead of the rest

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 (opens in new tab), and hit him up on Patreon (opens in new tab) or Steady (opens in new tab).

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.