The sound capabilities of the C64’s SID chip are well known and there are various implementations regarding a tighter integration of what may be considered a proper musical instrument – but this one is standing out, as it is both impressive and somewhat hilarious: The Commodordion
The Commodordion is an 8-bit accordion primarily made of C64s, floppy disks, and gaffer tape.
About the project
I’ve been tinkering with this beast, on and off, for about three and a half years. So from my point of view, the Sixtyforgan and Qwertuoso, where I first demonstrated the accordion-like keyboard layout, were spin-offs from this project. In fact, when I released the Sixtyforgan video in 2021, I already had an early version of the Commodordion standing by, but it wasn’t presentable at the time. There was no acrylic cover on the back so the guts kept spilling out, and I hadn’t coded the the rhythm-box mode for the left-hand side yet.
Things were slowly coming together, though. Once I was happy with the design of the instrument, there was the small matter of learning how to play it. As any budding accordion player can tell you, it’s frustrating that you can’t see what your hands are doing. Mirrors can help to a degree, but in the end you really have to go by feeling and muscle memory. The little red sticker on the right-hand-side “U” key is there to help me find my way when I have to jump from one area of the keyboard to another.