The Floppy Organ Plays Bach

Phantom of the Floppera features an arrangement of Bach’s Toccata & Fugue for MIDI-controlled floppy drive organ.

Technical details below!

via FunToTheHead:

Features two 3 1/2″ drives and two 5 1/4″ drives connected to a PIC18f14k50 microcontroller. It interfaces to any MIDI source via MIDI over USB. Straight MIDI would also be possible with an additional small circuit and some minor firmware changes. This initial version can respond to all 128 MIDI notes, and pitch bends +/- 2 semitones.

As it can produce only four simultaneous notes, and each drive has a different range and tonal characteristics, best results are obtained by arranging compositions by hand. However, it features two modes of operation: in one mode, MIDI channels 1 through 4 are played directly on floppy drives 1 through 4. In the other mode, all 16 MIDI channels are read, and notes are “intelligently” divvied out on a first-come, first-serve basis. “Note stealing” ensures that melody lines sound, but chords are often cut short. One or the other produces acceptable results for many unmodified MIDI files straight out of your favorite media player.

I apologize for the poor video quality. 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Floppy Organ Plays Bach

  1. Wow, this is the best switched-on performance of a Bach piece since Wendy Carlos started the ball rolling. Brings back fond memories of playing melodies on Commodore floppy drives.

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  2. Absolute genius. The best thing in computer music since somebody thought to use the BBC Micro cassette relay as percussion.

    I'm just off to see if I have four old vacuum cleaners…

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