On Feb. 6, 2017, I ordered my Genuino Starter Kit online. Eight days later, it arrived! All the way from Hungary, in fact.

Photo 2017-02-14, 10 18 05 PM
^ all the way from Budapest! ^

Fancy! Stoked.

I’ve done some programming in the past, including an app “Accelerando Metronomo” for iOS and some PC stuff, but Arduino is different because it’s more in the physical realm, with resistors and wires and whatnot! The starter kit come with a bunch of that stuff, and an instruction book full of projects. Of course, I’ve been putting my own twist on things. Going solely by the book would be sad.

Photo 2017-02-14, 1 43 51 PM
^ Arduino starter kit ^

It’s turned out to be addictive already, as I expected. Each project is usually centered around learning how to implement some new concept or element, like arrays or timers, etc. One my first creations was this one-button piezo synthesizer with pot-controlled pitch:

Photo 2017-02-27, 11 11 29 PM
^ Button_Pot_Piezo_Sean_1.ino, in the flesh ^

I video-recorded a few of these projects in action. The first one, uploaded Feb. 25, is my spin on the light theremin project: I made the brightness affect the length of each note as well as its pitch. The torch on the phone’s videocamera is controlling the sound:

I also made a simple metronome with a Tap Tempo function. My Tap Tempo in this one is smarter than some other Tap Tempo circuits; after a period of no-tapping idle time equal to four times the latest tap interval, it assumes the user is finished tapping and wants to use the result, and it also becomes ready for a new set of Tap Tempo information. This avoids some of the problems with typical Tap Tempo algorithms, such as a long wait being misinterpreted as a desire for a slow tempo.

The next video shows a “Call And Response” circuit in action. It collects light-brightness data from the solar cell for a few seconds, and then responds by retransmitting that same brightness data as sound, with brighter light creating higher-pitched sounds, while darkness is lower. The process repeats, allowing a new “light” performance and “sound” imitation. The project features a “loop” option which repeats the sound result indefinitely instead of returning to light-collecting mode.

The next video, uploaded yesterday, is able to calculate the necessary ratios and apply them to pitch in order to create an Equal Temperament scale, which means dividing an octave into any number of equal divisions (from 1 all the way up to 100, in my program). The standard Chromatic Scale, which makes up the most familiar music theory, is 12 divisions to the octave. Other examples: 6 divisions is the same as the Whole-Tone scale, 4 divisions is a Diminished 7th chord, 3 divisions is the augmented chord, 2 divisions is the Tritone, and 1 division makes the Octave itself. Twenty-four divisions is the Quarter-Tone Scale. Any other choice divisions-per-octave (5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 22, 31, 100, etc.) starts to sound pretty alien, or out-of-tune, compared to the usual. The program plays notes from the scale in random order. I made several of the parameters user-adjustible: Steps-Per-Octave (1-100), Number-of-Octaves range (1-10), Chance-for-Silence (percentage, 0-100), Length-of-Note (millisec, 50-1000 or random),  Quantize (portion of longest note, including 1/4, 1/8, etc.) and Start/Stop. I used a base “root” frequency of 54 Hz, because it’s a few octaves lower than 432 Hz. I ran the output through a guitar amp with echo & reverb. New learning items include “interrupts” and “arrays”.

Photo 2017-03-22, 10 26 31 PM
^ new hardware, just in time for Equal Temperament ^
Photo 2017-03-22, 10 27 26 PM
^ some code and output from Equal Temperament ^

Maybe you noticed in the last video, a different breadboard. Trip to the electronics store, BOOYAH! I thought that buying better pushbuttons would solve the problem of buttons popping out of the breadboard, but it turns out that all breadboards are not created equal, and a new breadboard solved more than one problem. The one that came with the starter kit actually got destroyed when I was removing it from the mounting plate:

Photo 2017-03-21, 8 38 50 PM
^ casualty of progress ^

Next on the agenda (or soon)… use capacitors. Eventually: robots, guitar pedals, etc. I don’t know. Hardware version of Accelerating Metronome, of course.



End of report.