Ever wanted to create your own musical instrument but don’t know where to start?
MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) has been the standard method for electronic instruments to communicate with each other since the early eighties.
During this workshop you’ll learn what the MIDI command set is and how it is used to send and receive data between devices. We’ll be working with the popular Arduino platform, to make a digital musical instrument that can be amended to work with a variety of input and output methods.
You’ll learn to program the Arduino microcontroller to understand MIDI messages and create a device which can send data to “play” a midi synth as well as receive data from a midi instrument to make music!
We’ll look at different input methods and how they can be used in creating your own midi in device. Basic electronics principles will be discussed and demonstrated - for example, using push-buttons used to select notes, rotary dials for pitch bend and so on.
You’ll then learn how to receive midi data from a keyboard/synthesizer or other input device and use it to create a midi out device - for example, we’ll map a series of flashing LEDs to the midi note on/off data to demonstrate how it works. Having mastered both input and output, we’ll look at “midi thru” and build a midi inline effect, such as note echo or arpeggiator.
Then it’s time to get your midi device actually making some noise, hooking up different outputs to demonstrate the true power and flexibility of the MIDI protocol. The same techniques can be used to control piezo “speakers”, oscillators, solenoids (to hit percussion instruments) and more!
Lastly, we’ll demonstrate some of the MIDI instruments created by members of BuildBrighton, including a digital theremin, midi drum kit, practice saxophone, as well as some more abstract ideas - such as using lava lamps as midi controllers, or playing a xylophone from midi “sheet music”!
By the end of the workshop, you’ll have your own, personalised, MIDI input device that will work with any MIDI compatible software or hardware. To round off the day, we’ll finish with a digital jamming session, where you can show off your beats/loops/tunes.
This workshop is ideal for people who have a basic familiarity with the Arduino and want to move into the endless possibilities that MIDI adds. However if you are a total Arduino novice do not be put off. We can provide one free of charge for you to use on the day (you can always purchase a new Arduino UNO board after the workshop) and this workshop could be your perfect introduction to the world of the Arduino!
For those who already own an Arduino UNO or Atmega328-based same-size equivalent, please bring it along. Feel free to bring along your own MIDI controllers and instruments. We’ll have computers, amps and synths set up for you to try out your own personalised MIDI devices, but feel free to bring along anything you’d either like to show off, or midi-fy and turn into an instrument!
Please note that the cost of this course also includes a pre-assembled MIDI shield for your Arduino, designed by BuildBrighton. No soldering is required for this workshop! For anyone interested in custom board design and electronics, we will be running a number of workshops introducing basic electronics concepts and building custom hardware at a later date.
Don't forget your laptop ;-)
When & Where
Build Brighton Makerspace
Build Brighton is a communal workshop and collective of over 100 makers who love to build stuff.
We’re part of a global network of makerspaces – places where people do creative projects, such as electronics, 3D printing, crafts and woodworking. Our main purpose is to provide tools and a space in which our members can gather, collaborate and learn from each other. People beaver away on their own projects, or take part in exciting group projects in a playful and friendly environment.
We are a not-for-profit community run entirely by volunteers. Our members pay a monthly subscription that goes towards paying for the workshop space and equipment for the group.