ABBA's "Dancing Queen" played on an antique organ

Originally published at:


A real toe tapper.


It actually sounds pretty great! That organ looks like a maintenance labor of love though.


I wonder what Kraftwerk would sound like on that thing.


Ah, the mid 90’s. Before MP3s really took off, the kids on the pre-web internet were trading .midi files back and forth, and there was a really cool scene of people who were using MIDI sequence programs to “hack” their favorite songs into .midi files. There’s no automated way of doing it… if you don’t have the sheet music for the song you have to listen to it by ear and transcribe the music, then make choices as to what voices you want for what notes to make it sound as close as possible to the original song.

And yes, there were .midis of songs like Heart Shaped Box and Closer and Paint it Red and just all of them.

There was a variant refered to as Music Box Midis where the artists (because creating a .midi from a song is an art form in itself) transcribed the song to make it sound like it was playing on a music box; with the more jarring and unexpected from the normal expression of the song the better. Heavy metal music box? Rap music box? YAS.

And the cool thing was that most of the MIDI players also had sequencers built in, so you could work on your own songs too! Very participatory, although I sucked at it myself. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Then there was the cassette I sent my Dad, in Canada, of one of these organs at the market from Eindhoven, the Netherlands, :thinking: I nearly caused a divorce with that little purchase, I did…

Mahler actually made some piano rolls; I have a CD of Mahler playing Mahler.

Ah, the mid 90’s. Before MP3s really took off,

Ah, the mid 80’s, before MIDI was a file format and we had to hack the tunes manually into a synth program that used the CPU to generate the waveforms… often in assembly code. :smile:

1 Like

I’m guessing my Dad’s player piano was a lot less work. :thinking:

Although, I see that QRS is still in business and has really kept up with the times (Dad has rolls from them from the 1890’s, though most are 1930’s and 40’s IIRC). You can run your player piano from an app, it seems. I wonder if one could retrofit one of the organs?

These are great, but my favourite fairground organ cover is still this version of ‘Take on me’:


The demo scene and the electronic music scenes of the '80s… dude, I am envious of you that you got to see them unfold. By the time I got into computers it was pretty much a settled field, although there were some cool hacks that came after then. You get random internet stranger envy points! :slight_smile:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.