Viral Radar: Floppy Disks Make A Comeback In Phantom Of The Floppera

The floppy disk is making a comeback in a new viral video that features the Phantom of the Opera theme played entirely...on floppy disks!

When was the last time you saw a floppy disk? Hard on the outside, floppy on the inside…ah, the memories. Well floppy is making a comeback in a new video that’s going viral today. The video is called ‘Phantom of the Floppera’ and features a “Diskette Organ” that plays Toccata & Fugue from Phantom of the Opera on a bunch of old disks. It’s floppin’ fantastic.

For those of you who are curious about how the Diskette Organ works, YouTuber FunToTheHead, who uploaded the video, explains the process in the video description:

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’m not too literate when it comes to things like firmware changes, circuits and MIDI channels, but I can still appreciate that this video is awesome. I especially like when “The Phantom” makes an appearance at 2:30 and I’ve got to admit that the whole “Floppera” part of the title really puts a smile on my face. You know, I never realized how much I missed the old floppy loading and saving grumble.

The video hit YouTube just two days ago and is already climbing the YouTube charts. What do you think of the ‘Phantom of the Floppera’? Do you think the floppy is making a comeback?