Posts with «midi» label

Reed Organ MIDI Conversion Tickles All 88 Keys

What did you do in high school? Chances are it wasn’t anywhere near as cool as turning a reed organ into a MIDI device. And even if you managed to pull something like that off, did you do it by mechanically controlling all 88 keys? Didn’t think so.

A reed organ is a keyboard instrument that channels moving air over sets of tuned brass reeds to produce notes. Most are fairly complex affairs with multiple keyboards and extra controls, but the one that [Willem Hillier] scored for free looks almost the same as a piano. Even with the free instrument [Willem] is about $500 into this project. Almost half of the budget went to the solenoids and driver MOSFETs — there’s a solenoid for each key, after all. And each one required minor surgery to reduce the clicking and clacking sounds that don’t exactly contribute to the musical experience. [Willem] designed custom driver boards for the MOSFETs with 16 channels per board, and added in a couple of power supplies to feed all those hungry solenoids and the three Arduinos needed to run the show. The video below shows the organ being stress-tested with the peppy “Flight of the Bumblebee”; there’s nothing wrong with a little showing off.

[Willem]’s build adds yet another instrument to the MIDI fold. We’ve covered plenty before, from accordions to harmonicas and even a really annoying siren.


Filed under: musical hacks

A Very MIDI Christmas Lightshow

Christmas light displays winking and flashing in sync to music are a surefire way to rack up views on YouTube and annoy your neighbours. Inspired by one such video, [Akshay James] set up his own display and catalogued the process in this handy tutorial to get you started on your own for the next holiday season.

[James], using the digital audio workstation Studio One, took the MIDI data for the song ‘Carol of the Bells’ and used that as the light controller data for the project’s Arduino brain. Studio One sends out the song’s MIDI data, handled via the Hairless MIDI to serial bridge, to the Arduino which in turn sets the corresponding bit to on or off. That gets passed along to three 74HC595 shift registers — and their three respective relay boards — which finally trigger the relay for the string of lights.

From there, it’s a matter of wiring up the Arduino shift register boards, relays, and connecting the lights. Oh, and be sure to mount a speaker outdoors so passers-by can enjoy the music:

Be sure to set up a secondary power source for the relays, as drawing the power from the Arduino is likely to cause big problems. If your preferred digital audio workstation doesn’t have a virtual MIDI instrument, [James] used loopMIDI for the desired effect. He has also provided the code he used to save you some trouble if you’re building this during an invariably hectic holiday season.

Of course, you could always plug your lights into an IoT power bar and have fun that way.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Holiday Hacks

Acoustic Accordion Becomes MIDI; Oh the Complexity!

Everyone knows accordions are cool — they look fly, make neat noises, and get your romantic interests all hot and bothered. What isn’t cool is being relegated to acoustics only. How are you going to play a packed stadium or lay down a crystal clear track like that? You could go out and buy an electric accordion, but even low-end models carry a hefty price tag. But, this is Hackaday, and you know we’re going to be telling you about someone who found a better way.

That better way, shown in a build by [Brendan Vavra], was to take an acoustic accordion and convert it to MIDI. The base for his build was a decent full-size acoustic accordion purchased on eBay for just $150. Overall, it was in good mechanical condition, but some of the reeds were out of tune or not working at all. Luckily, that didn’t matter, since he wouldn’t be using them anyway. Don’t be fooled in the demo video below; it sounds like he’s playing the acoustic according but notice he’s not pumping those bellows! However, the bellows isn’t useless either since it can feed data back as a MIDI input.

[Brendan’s] build plan called for an Arduino Mega to be tied to a series of photo-interrupters that would detect button pushes and fire MIDI signals. But, first he had to take the thing apart — no small task, given the complexity of the instrument. The accordion has 120 buttons, and they’re not interchangeable, which means he had to carefully keep track of them as they were disassembled.

Remarkably, he accomplished this without any major hurdles (just a lot of time). The photo-interrupters were installed, and all of the electronics were tucked in nicely inside the body of the accordion. To start, [Brendan] had this wired to his computer with a USB cable from the Arduino in order to prove the concept. After that worked, he upgraded the setup with Bluetooth to transmit the signals, and even added a barometric pressure sensor that allows him to use the bellows for expression and volume changes. Although we’ve seen elaborate MIDI builds before, this might just take the cake for complexity in a small package. Oh, and just sheer coolness.

[via r/somethingimade]


Filed under: musical hacks
Hack a Day 01 Feb 09:01

Annoy Your Neighbors with MIDI Musical Siren

[Yannick], aka [Gigawipf] brings us this (mostly) musical delicacy: a 3D-printed siren that’s driven by a brushless quadcopter motor, and capable of playing (mostly) any music that you’ve got the MIDI score for. This is a fantastic quickie project for any of you out there with a busted quad, or even some spare parts, and a 3D printer. Despite the apparent level of difficulty, this would actually be a great quickie weekend build.

First stop is Thingiverse, for the Mini Air Raid Siren model. Start that printing and get to work on the electronics. For the MIDI-to-ESC (electronic speed controller) conversion, any Arduino with USB support (ATmega32u4 or ARM boards) will work. The important bit is that you can run the MIDI-USB library. All that remains is a MIDI-to-servo pulse conversion and lookup table. Here’s [Yannick]’s file, but we’re guessing that you’ll want to tune your own siren.

How well does it work? See the videos below. Short notes, as well as note-offs, tax the quad motor’s ability to stop the siren rotor immediately. There’s a nice portamento effect as it ramps up between notes as well. You’ll need to pick your repertoire accordingly.

We have a strange affinity for musical sirens, so we’ll readily admit that [Yannick] had us at the word “spinning”. This is an easy project, with a pretty cool result. As far as we know, there’s only one 3D-printed, MIDI-controlled siren in the world, but it shouldn’t be hard to scale the siren model up or down to make different registers and effects. So who’s up for an entire symphony of these things?


Filed under: musical hacks
Hack a Day 30 Jan 03:00

Robo-Flute Whistles MIDI

We aren’t sure this technically qualifies as music synthesis, but what else do you call a computer playing music? In this case, the computer is a Teensy, and the music comes from a common classroom instrument: a plastic recorder. The mistaken “flute” label comes from the original project. The contraption uses solenoids to operate 3D printed “fingers” and an air pump — this is much easier with a recorder since (unlike a flue) it just needs reasonable air pressure to generate sound.

A Teensy 3.2 programmed using the Teensyduino IDE drives the solenoids. The board reads MIDI command sent over USB from a PC and translates them into the commands for this excellent driver board. It connects TIP31C transistors, along with flyback diodes, to the solenoids via a terminal strip.

On the PC, a program called Ableton sends the MIDI messages to the Teensy. MIDI message have three parts: one sets the message type and channel, another sets the velocity, and one sets the pitch. The code here only looks at the pitch.

This is one of those projects that would be a lot harder without a 3D printer. There are other ways to actuate the finger holes, but being able to make an exact-fitting bracket is very useful. Alas, we couldn’t find a video demo. If you know of one, please drop the link in the comments below.

We have seen bagpipe robots (in fact, we’ve seen several). We’ve also seen hammering shotguns into flutes, which is certainly more melodious than plowshares.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, ARM, musical hacks

Stage Bench is an Arduino-based live controller table

Manuel Lukas, a student at the University of Applied Science Mainz, and Sascha Lukas, a student at Cologne University of Music, together make up the German pop band Wyoming. As part of an interdisciplinary project, the duo decided to combine their love for both design and music into one live MIDI controller that’s bigger than commonly available commercial devices, but due to its size, more comprehensible for the audience.

The result? A DJ table, dubbed “Stage Bench,” that doubles as an instrument.

Stage Bench is based on an Arduino Uno which interacts with two matrices, a 128-LED matrix and a 128-button matrix, via a pair of shields. The connection to the computer is managed by serial communication and corresponds with a self-programmed patch in Max/MSP, which also sends MIDI data to any preferred DAW to play instruments or samplers.

Check out Stage Bench in Wyoming’s music video below!

MIDI Guitar Pedals

Ever since Jimi Hendrix brought guitar distortion to the forefront of rock and roll, pedals to control the distortion have been a standard piece of equipment for almost every guitarist. Now, there are individual analog pedals for each effect or even digital pedals that have banks of effects programmed in. Distortion is just one of many effects, and if you’ve built your own set of pedals for each of these, you might end up with something like [Brian]: a modular guitar pedal rack.

Taking inspiration from modular synthesizers, [Brian] built a rack out of wood to house the pedal modules. The rack uses 16U rack rails as a standard, with 3U Eurorack brackets. It looks like there’s space for 16 custom-built effects pedals to fit into the rack, and [Brian] can switch them out at will with a foot switch. Everything is tied together with MIDI and is programmed in Helix. The end result looks very polished, and helped [Brian] eliminate his rat’s nest of cables that was lying around before he built his effects rack.

MIDI is an extremely useful protocol for musicians and, despite being around since the ’80s, doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. If you want to get into it yourself, there are all kinds of ways that you can explore the studio space, even if you play an instrument that doesn’t typically use MIDI.


Filed under: musical hacks
Hack a Day 20 Nov 21:01

Touchless MIDI: The Secret’s In the Mitten

MIDI is a great tool for virtually any musician. Unless you’re a keyboard player, though, it might be hard to use it live. [Evan] recently came up with a great solution for all of the wistful guitar players out there who have been dreaming of having a MIDI interface as useful as their pianist brethren, though. He created a touchless MIDI controller that interfaces directly with a guitar.

[Evan] set up an Arduino Nano to handle the MIDI interface to the computer. A detector coil from a previous project was installed onto the guitar can recognize how far away the guitarist’s hand is from the body of the guitar, giving the musician control over an effect of their choosing. The guitarist simply needs to be wearing a special mitten for use with the detector coil. [Evan] also added three tactile buttons, meaning that this MIDI usefulness can be extended to three different selectable effects.

Be sure to check out the video below for a demonstration of how the interface works. [Evan] has also made the schematics and Arduino code available if you decide to build your own. This isn’t [Evan]’s first MIDI rodeo, either. He’s also created a MIDI drum interface from a Rock Band drum set, too.


Filed under: musical hacks
Hack a Day 06 Nov 21:00

Listen to the Eerie Music of This Handmade MIDI Pipe Organ

Pipe Organs may be out of vogue, but one makers MIDI-fied version definitely turned heads at the Orlando Maker Faire.

Read more on MAKE

The post Listen to the Eerie Music of This Handmade MIDI Pipe Organ appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Turn mini Pringles cans into electronic drums

Ever find yourself drumming on Pringles cans with your fingers? This hack adds a MIDI output to make it sound awesome!

If you’re tired of playing virtual drums on an iPad or other device, and need some tactile feedback, snack-sized Pringles cans not only sort of resemble drums, but provide a nice “bounce” when hit by a finger or thumb. All that’s required, besides washing the lid and canister to remove grease, is the attachment of a piezoelectric sensor to the lid to detect taps. These impulses are then fed to an Arduino Micro, converting everything into a MIDI signal, which can be read by your favorite electronic instrument.

With a bit of luck, you can plug it straight in to a MIDI drum synth and start playing. The four pads transmit kick drum, snare, closed hi-hat and open hi-hat note values according to the General MIDI specification.

You can find more information on this excellent hack on its Instructables page, or check out the video below to see it in action!