Using 3 Commodore 64s and a floppy drive to perform Partita Prelude #ArtTuesday
Floppy drives and stepper motors have been used to make music before, but for live playing Linus Åkesson thinks the technology is underexplored.
This video features three separate Commodore 64 computers, colour coded for your convenience. I’m playing the melody on a dark grey C64C (custom case from Individual Computers) and chords on a brown “breadbin”. These machines run Qwertuoso, my accordion-inspired C64 program for playing live chip music. An external potentiometer is hooked up as a volume control.
The chord progression was shaped by both musical and technical constraints: I wanted to pick chords that would fit the melody while playfully extending its harmonical structure—but I also had to avoid note combinations that would result in keyboard ghosting.
The third computer, a light grey C64C, doesn’t use the SID chip to generate sound. Instead it controls the motors of a programmable floppy disk drive, providing bass and rhythmical noises. The lid of the drive has been removed in the video so you can see the moving parts.
A 1530 Datasette unit is also put to good use… The DC motor can be turned on or off under software control, causing pleasant whispery noises as the motor spins up or slows to a halt.
Watch all the magic happenning in the video below and read about its creation in the post here.
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