The Laptop Accordion

Meacham, Aidan and Kannan, Sanjay and Wang, Ge

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

The ‘Laptop Accordion’ co-opts the commodity laptop computer to craft an expressive, whimsical accordion-like instrument. It utilizes the opening and closing of the laptop screen as a physical metaphor for accordion bellows, and the laptop keyboard as musical buttonboard. Motion is tracked using the laptop camera via optical flow and mapped to continuous control over dynamics, while the sound is generated in real-time. The instrument uses both skeuomorphic and abstract onscreen graphics which further reference the core mechanics of ‘squeezebox’ instruments. The laptop accordion provides several game modes, while overall offering an unconventional aesthetic experience in music making.