Rock out with Arduino: our favorite music-related hacks

Joe Heitzeberg
January 30, 2013

For those about to Rock, here’s a rundown of our favorite music-related Arduino hacks to inspire your next project.

“The Woodpecker” — Electronic Percussion Instrument

“The Woodpeckers”, by Matthew Kaney, is a set of 5 wooden box drums of various sizes that uses MIDI as input to control electromagnetic pistons to strike the drums — a fascinating use of technology to produce an warm, organic natural.

“The Woodpecker” — Electronic Percussion Instrument from Matthew Kaney on Vimeo.

Da Gloves

Here’s a project that takes things in the opposite direction from The Woodpeckers: “Da Gloves” are wearable MIDI controller gloves with LED accent lights. According to Spencer Shafter, the creator, the inputs can be used with any standard MIDI device, including drum kits, pattern sequencers and other MIDI controllers. Looks like these gloves can be played off of any flat surface or even trigger by waving around in the air.

LED Arduino Music Visualizer

In this project by Mark Neuburger, an Arduino, a stereo spectrum analyzer and 49 LEDs are used to create a music visualizer. Mark has shared his code here.

Lo-fi Arduino Guitar Pedal

Arduino doesn’t provide much in the way of computational power for synthesis, but it’s just the ticket for bit-crushing and other lo-fi uses like this guitar pedal by Kyle Mcdonald. Complete instructions for this project are available here on Instructables.com

Lo-fi Arduino Guitar Pedal from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

DIYtar 2 (the second version of a DIY “key-tar”)

Here’s Johan Larsby’s second attempt at a home-made “Key-tar”. Skip to around 1:40 to see the instrument in action, complete with pitch-bend effect and glorious, monophonic sound.

The Rockterscale: Measure How Hard You Rock

The BBC has produced a setup that determine how hard a live band and its audience is “rocking” during a live performance by measuring things like crowd movement and by analyzing the music. In an age of lip-synching and auto-tuning, we applaud the BBC’s efforts to use technology to reward good old-fashioned rocking.

Building the Rockterscale! from Ben Hanbury on Vimeo.

Laser Harp by Stephen Hobley

Stephen Hobley’s Laser Harp is an impressive instrument that uses lasers as the basis of a MIDI controller (so it can be used to generate all kinds of sounds or to control any MIDI-capable controller or instrument. Somewhat like a traditional harp, sounds are triggered by touching the laser beams and modulated by adjusting the position within the beam.

The AIRduino: an Air Guitar with Arduino

The AIRduino uses an accelerometer and an ultra-sonic sensor to create a musical instrument out of “air guitar” motions.
Skip to 1:43 to see it in action.

Ready for more?

Check out other posts from this blog.

View all »