Make sound with Pico

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

MIDI Guitar

Built using Trill touch sensors, this MIDI Guitar was a tutorial series in The MagPi a couple of years ago, starting in issue 102. It works much like a guitar, with ‘frets’ at different spots up the neck, and a touch sensor for strumming. You can change the tuning as well, which is shown on a little screen on the headstock.

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The body itself is a fun bit of woodworking too, although you can always transpose the system into a different body entirely – maybe even into a wearable, musical sleeve?

Pico Portal Music Box

Even after 15 years, Portal’s Still Alive song is still well remembered and this project will make sure you never forget it. Pico can actually play MP3 files, and maker thisoldgeek wanted to give it a more antique music box vibe, so he created one in the style of a music box MIDI sound. It’s still an MP3 though!

He reckons it takes a couple of hours to put together, with a simple 3D-printed box and minimal amount of soldering and wiring required. It even includes lights, which fade in and out for a great effect.

Pico Audio Pack

Instead of soldering a speaker to your Pico, this add-on allows you to have high-quality audio output from Pico through 3.5 mm jacks. It connects to Pico like a HAT on Raspberry Pi. You can even choose to manually amplify each output. Grab one here.

Pico Piano

This clever project uses a copper-plated board with piano keys etched into them and a series of resistors to create variable currents at each key. The piano player then uses a jumper cable hooked up to a Pico which senses the different current values and plays a note based on it.

This use of resistors would be very difficult to do on Raspberry Pi without other components. If you don’t have access to copper boards and etching solutions, you can use a perf board as well to create a piano.

MIDI controller

There are a couple of great DIY MIDI controller projects for Pico – we quite like the MIDI Fighter that uses arcade buttons – however, if you just want to experiment with code and don’t want to do too much physical building, Keybow 2040 from Pimoroni is a great customisable keyboard that can be used as a MIDI controller with some coding. Get it here.

Lo-Fi Orchestra

This massive orchestra is made up of various microcontrollers and microcomputers, and nearly every week we get to hear something new from it. We quite like the version of Gustav Holst’s The Planets suite composed on it. You can find out how it works with the very thorough blog.

From The MagPi store


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