Music Thing Modular Intros Chord Organ Eurorack Module

Music Thing Modular has introduced Chord Organ – an alternate firmware for the Music Thing Modular Radio Music module that transforms it into a polyphonic chord tone generator.

Chord organ is very simple:

  • Chord = choose the chord shape; minor, major, seventh etc. Shapes can be defined by editing a text file on the SD Card (see below). Chords can have up to 8 notes.
  • Root = choose the root note, in semitones from C-2 to C+2
  • Waveform = push to select one of four waveforms: Sine, Square, Sawtooth and weird-gnarly-pulse-an-octave-below.
  • Chord + Root CV inputs. The Root CV input is NOT volt/octave, but the output notes are perfectly in standard tuning (A = 440hz).
  • Trig = Trigger output, which pulses every time the chord changes
  • Out = Audio output

Here’s what developer Tom Whitwell has to say about Chord Organ:

The inspiration for Chord Organ came a few months ago, while walking home from work. It was sitting outside a house with some unwanted toys and a sign saying ‘Please take’.

It’s a Bontempi Chord Organ, a super-cheap Italian-made plastic organ, probably from the 1970s. A noisy mains-powered fan blows air through reeds, with eight chord buttons on the left. It sounds great, in an out-of-tune way.

There’s a long history of press-button-to-get-chord instruments; accordions, the Suzuki Omnichord, the Autoharp, or all those auto-accompaniment electronic keyboards that you used to see.

It’s perfectly possible to create chords on a modular synth, but it’s a pain in the arse?—?lots of tuning and messing about. I wanted something as simple as a Bontempi organ.

Here’s an example of the chord organ in action:

Audio Demo:

Pricing and Availability

There are several options for getting the Chord Organ. You can download the software (hex file) and update an existing Radio Music module, you can buy a new panel buy a new panel for $13.36, or a full Chord Organ Kit for $68.50.

4 thoughts on “Music Thing Modular Intros Chord Organ Eurorack Module

  1. This is pretty cool. If I was a modular guy, I would probably get this.

    I’ve got an old Magnus chord organ. It’s completely out of tune with everything else so all other instruments have to come to it but it does make a neat sound. Hard to record though because of the fan/blower motor inside. Fun though. Sort of sounds like an accordian in a box.

  2. Haha, bro had one of those Bontempi organs in the 1970s. The more keys you pressed the more “breathy” it shounded until it basically couldn’t pump enough air to make a noise!

  3. I would have bought it today. I tried twice. But the THONK password system is totaly unmanageable on a portable device. The NSA has less strict password requirements.

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