Music projects for Arduino: Learn by doing :

Music projects for Arduino: Learn by doing : Steadman Thompson (20 juin 2020)

Book author
  1. Rodrigo S. A.
Music projects for Arduino

This book has a little bit of theory but the main premise is “learn by doing” From the first project you will be able to learn about frequencies and sounds. Then you will be able to complete exciting and useful instruments and projects like a micro piano, a Theremin, a Drum Machine, a Jukebox, Sequencer and more.

Below you can find the complete list of projects contained in this book:

Micro Piano: any Arduino, a buzzer and some buttons is enough to create a mini piano, capable of playing notes and arpegios. The sound is not great but this is just the starting point to understand basic notions of notes, frequencies and button detection.

Music box: with almost the same hardware as the previous project we will create a micro music box. In this case melody is stored in the code and playback is started with a switch. Ideal for gifts. Melodies can be changed.

Synthesizer: in this project, we will start to work with Mozzi, a powerful music library, to create synth sounds that can be changed with 3 potentiometers.

Jukebox: now we know how to play sounds with Arduino and a buzzer and we also know how to use Mozzi. Then it’s time to learn how to play MP3s. You can use the same principles to trigger sample sounds or drum tracks.

Dancing head: this is the only project that does not generates music but it will “hear it” with a sound detection module. An animatronic head will move to the beat. You can use the same principles to react to certain sounds.

Drum machine: we are getting serious now with a complete drum machine. You can configure BPMs and assign sounds to each beat using potentiometers. You can even add your own sounds and every step is clearly explained.

Sequencer: using same theory as previous project we now add the ability to sequence sounds in every beat played with a button. You can use a retro joystick instead of a potentiometer.

Power Theremin: you know the Theremin, one of the first electronic instruments. With Arduino and some parts you can make your own Theremin with scales and effects.


During my childhood everything used to be departmentalized. You could be either a musician or a nerd, but those two worlds or departments didn’t touch in any point. So, there was a crossroad. So I’ve passed some years creating circuits, soldering and programming and then for the next 10 years I’ve forgotten all that and I’ve started to play the electric guitar in a band. It took me some time to realize something pretty obvious: all the interest you have, well balanced sum and on the other side, music is also a technology with the right perspective applied.

Since that revelation I’ve been a nerd in music and a musician in electronics, opening huge possibilities that seemed to be closed and connecting with a community of people that also choosed for increasing instead of decreasing, and that were able to appreciate a chiptune song or a preamp cretaed with old TV valves.

When I’ve started with the marvelous Arduino board, I thought that music was out of sight. All the examples were just turning on leds and the abilities to create sound were too simple to propose something interesting. Then some hats and devices appeared and also some libraries like Mozzi. Today you can seriously use Arduino for any project, controlling MIDI or creating synth, firing samples and sounds.

Do you need to know lots of electronics or programming to read this book and complete the projects? Like in any other topic, having knowledge helps but having less knowledge is not a problem. You still will be able to mount the projects and use them as they are presented.

This is my third Arduino book and I intent to apply the same philosophy as with the other 2: learn by doing. I only will explain theory when it is neccesary and with practical application. Every concept will be related to some part of some project.

There is nothing sacred in this book. The idea is to try, play, understand and adapt. I’m always surprised to see where the modification and hacks can go.

Are you ready to begin? Let’s start right now.
Rodrigo S. A.
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