Floppy Disk Drives Playing Toccata and Fugue

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We've seen floppy disk drives altered to serve as musical instruments, but not quite as sophisticated as this set up by YouTube user FunToTheHead. In this performance, he performs Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor:

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.

via Geek Dad

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    I saw this earlier today, and have spent the WHOLE AFTERNOON looking at different computer parts playing music. My favourite so far is two stepper motors playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2:
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    I remember programs that made music with the Commodore 64 drive. The wreaked havoc on the heads and could not be re-aligned with software so they had to be brought in for repair.
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