“Rule #17: If it sounds good and doesn’t smoke, don’t worry if you don’t understand it.” ~ Nicholas Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking, Second Edition, Routledge, 2009, p. 144.
Collins describes it as the “world’s simplest oscillator” and that must be true. One integrated circuit, a capacitor, a resistor, a battery, and a couple of wires. That’s it. There are countless examples of this circuit available on the Internet, but Collins’ Handmade Electronic Music book provides a step-by-step guide for many such circuits. Collins has posted an earlier draft of the manual here.
“What really makes an instrument musical is that a musician decides to make use of it.” ~ Allen Strange, Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls (2nd Edition, 1983, p. 2).
This post documents two circuits connecting an Arduino to electronic controls on a breadboard and the programs necessary to generate basic MIDI note commands. These circuits can be used to make music, conduct experiments, or both. For an introduction to Arduino and MIDI, please see Arduino and Midi for Beginners. Or, you can skip all this backstory and just watch the videos: Boogie Bass or Mathematical Midi.
This is a brief introduction to the Arduino, MIDI, and how the Arduino can be used to communicate musical messages. This guide is not a tutorial. This guide provides a quick, concise explanation of these technologies and links to some of the best resources to get started.