This site attempts to collect together in one place a range of projects that span music, electronics, microcontrollers (such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi Pico) and programming.
It is also the home of the Arduino Lo-Fi Orchestra.
Most of the information you’d need to do these projects is already scattered around the Internet somewhere, but it isn’t always easy to know where to start or how to join it together. I’ve tried to link to appropriate tutorials and sources of information where possible. You can read more about why I decided to create this site in the ‘about‘ page.
If you’re keen to get going, I’ve put together a bit of a Kit List here and there are some good starter projects listed below. If everything looks a little bewildering, then you could try starting with one of my Worksheets.
I’ve categorised the projects as either “beginner“, “intermediate” or “advanced“. The beginner projects start from assuming some knowledge about Arduino. If you are new to this site or to microcontroller platforms, have a scan over the Getting Started page for some links to get you going.
I will do more explaining in the beginner projects, especially when a new concept crops up that hasn’t been encountered in any of the previous projects. With the intermediate projects, they will take the basics learned in the beginner projects a bit further, but you are more on your own in terms of actually getting on and doing them yourself. They may typically work better if you are ok with some soldering too. The advanced go further still (or are simply just a bit fiddly!).
Please note: Everything on this site is provided “as is” with no explicit correctness or fitness for purpose implied or promised. Barring typos and mistakes in the writing up, by fluke or otherwise, I think they worked for me – that is the most I can promise you.
Warning! Be particularly wary about plugging any of these things into your expensive computers or musical equipment! Do so at your own risk! And make sure you double check everything first… old, second-hand or hand-me-down music keyboards, amps or computers are great for experimenting.
The circuits shown are the simplest that might possibly just about work. There will be no protection, buffering, or anything a proper electronics person would design in for any kind of real or robust use. They are just my messing about. I say it a number of times around the site, and I’ll say it again here – I am not an electronics person! It is all just meant to be a bit of fun 🙂
But I just want to get started…
Here are a few of the simpler project ideas to get you going. See the full list on the Projects page.
- The Arduino Tone Generator and Arduino Note Generator show how to use a potentiometer to control the pitch of a note.
- The Simple Arduino Music Keyboard shows how to build a small music keyboard out of switches.
- Arduino Relay Bolero uses a relay to provide a rhythm to a well known tune!
- The Arduino MIDI VS1053 Synth uses an off-the-shelf Arduino shield to create a MIDI tone module.
- The Arduino PWM MIDI Synthesis with Mozzi project introduces the Mozzi sound synthesis library.
- In Instant Touch Music there are two “all on one” boards you can buy and use for touch sensitive music projects.
- In MIDI, MicroPython and the Raspberry Pi Pico I program the Raspberry Pi Pico to send MIDI, repeating it again for CircuitPython devices in MIDI, CircuitPython, CPX and Pi Pico.
- In CircuitPython USB to Serial MIDI Router I show how any CircuitPython supported device can be used as a USB MIDI device to serial MIDI gateway.
Finally there are several pages that bring together projects that show you how to add MIDI interfaces to your microcontroller and computer projects:
- Ready-Made MIDI Modules – a range of modules for “ready to go” MIDI IN and OUT for both 5V and 3V microcontrollers.
- Arduino MIDI Interfaces – a range of DIY MIDI interfaces for the Arduino and other 5V microcontrollers.
- DIY MIDI Interfaces – a range of DIY MIDI interfaces for non-Arduino like controllers, including 3V microcontrollers, single board computers, and PCs.
- Arduino and USB MIDI – a range of projects to work with USB MIDI hosts and devices and Arduino.
- MIDI Connections Cheat Sheet – how to work out which pins to use for your MIDI connectors.