Second round + Code explained

Round 2 stock image to represent that it is the second prototype

For the second prototype, the idea for the overall improvement came to me when I was trying to record all my selected melodies. The reason was because I had run into a major problem when playing the melodies, some melodies required sharps and flats and my mini instrument physically could not play them as there were not enough push buttons. I will also breakdown the code block by block in this blog as it would be a very boring blog since the modifications are minimal (yet significant).

This setup was the same as the original however this post will still go step by step and detail what was modified or added. The yellow highlight will represent this.

Step 1. Attaching the pushbuttons the breadboard.

I attached it first as it was a good starting point. Evenly spacing them out is helpful to keeping everything organised.

Here’s what it looks like once all 11 pushbuttons are attached. I adjusted the buttons as I realized there was not enough space to put the wires above the push buttons. I could have put it below however to make things easier, I just followed the diagram.

Step 2. Attach Jumper wires.

I began with just grounding each of the push buttons. All of the white wires have the same function.

After grounding all the pushbuttons I started with connecting the jumper wires from the breadboard to the Arduino Uno.

These are how the connections went:

Pushbutton C – D10, CD – D12, D – D9, DE – D13, E – D8, F – D7, FG – D3, G – D6, GA -D2. A – D5, B -D4

Step 3. Attach the piezo buzzer to the breadboard and arduino.

For the connection from the piezo speaker to the breadboard attach the piezo speaker ground to the breadboard ground and the positive terminal to the Arduino. Once this is done ensure all the connections are set properly.

The Code

The code was original not mine and found online from the Arduino page linked here. First of before any of the code is typed up, You must ensure that another piece of code called tone.h are in your library directory within your files. This can be found here on github. What this tone.h file allows the user to do is define notes within arduino in order to be played on the instrument. It ensures that the code can understand my define commands.

Tone folder with library contains tone.h
tone.h allows this to funcntion. The number next to the note represents the frequency of the note.

The next block of code represents which pin will be connected to what. For example we can see that the number 11 correlates to pin 11 on the Arduino and it says buzzer so it is connected to the piezo buzzer. If I were to change the number to 10 all I would have to ensure is that the connection is changed to pin 10.

These next 2 blocks of code represent how the function is triggered and how it is outputted. We can see that it says input and pin mode. All this means is the pushbutton will trigger it and the output with the tone buzz quite literally means how it will be outputted. The letters on each of the different lines correlate with the pin and frequency connections mentioned beforehand.

Practical Project

The adventure!

Untitled sketch bb xtzeuuzjoe
Circuit diagram to follow

Step 1. Attaching the pushbuttons the breadboard.

I attached it first as it was a good starting point. Evenly spacing them out is helpful to keeping everything organised.

Here’s what it looks like once all 7 pushbuttons are attached. I adjusted the buttons as I realized there was not enough space to put the wires above the push buttons. I could have put it below however to make things easier, I just followed the diagram.

Step 2. Attach Jumper wires.

I began with just grounding each of the push buttons. All of the white wires have the same function.

After grounding all the pushbuttons I started with connecting the jumper wires from the breadboard to the arduino uno.

These are how the connections went:

Pushbutton C – D10, D – D9, E – D8, F – D7, G – D6, A – D5, B -D4

Step 3. Attach the piezo buzzer to the breadboard and arduino.

For the connection from the piezo speaker to the breadboard attach the piezo speaker ground to the breadboard ground and the positive terminal to the Arduino. Once this is done ensure all the connections are set properly.

Implement the code

Once the circuit as been doublechecked, it is time to run the code through the Arduino and begin testing. I did not have to modify it as my configuration was the same.

This is the code that needs to be uploaded before the “piano” is working.

define T_C 262

define T_D 294

define T_E 330

define T_F 349

define T_G 392

define T_A 440

define T_B 493

const int C = 10;
const int D = 9;
const int E = 8;
const int F = 7;
const int G = 6;
const int A = 5;
const int B = 4;

const int Buzz = 11;
const int LED = 13;

void setup()
pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);
pinMode(C, INPUT);

pinMode(D, INPUT);

pinMode(E, INPUT);

pinMode(F, INPUT);

pinMode(G, INPUT);

pinMode(A, INPUT);

pinMode(B, INPUT);


void loop()
while(digitalRead(C) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(D) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(E) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(F) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(G) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(A) == LOW)

while(digitalRead(B) == LOW)



Now it is time to test the piano by playing some melodies.


List of melodies to replicate: Still Dre by Dr Dre, ABC by Jackson 5, What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong

Dr Dre Next episode
ABC by Jackson 5
Spider man theme

Rupert Neve

Dave Grohl and Rick Rubin in front of the Neve 8028.

This Neve 8028 has helped record many rock hits. Unlike many studio mixing desks used to make hit songs, this desk only has 24 tracks. It forced many artists to make creative decisions to help make sure that the song would work in 24 tracks. Dave Grohl (Drummer for Nirvana) said “One of the things I think that makes good music is some sort of…restrictions…”. In this blog I will go through the history behind the console but most importantly the man behind the invention, Rupert Neve.

How it came on to the scene Sound city documentary. I highly recommend the watch. It’s ok Amazon Prime

Firstly let’s jump into the history of this mixing console to show you just how only 1 of many mixing consoles designed by Neve impacted the music industry. You can’t talk about this console without talking about the recording studio that brought It to popularity, Sound city in Los Angeles. From the 1970s onwards this recording studio would be associated with a ridiculous amount of great music. Some great artists include Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Neil Young and Rage against the machine. Dave Grohl (In charge of making the sound city documentary who I mention alot in this recorded at Sound city with Nirvana in 1991. It changed rock music to say the least. Dave Grohl stated that during the 60s and 70s recording equipment had just begun to improve and Neve consoles were being installed in a majority of studios at that time. It was like the ‘cadillac” of consoles. Yet it was simple he said. Anytime an artist would record on the Neve 8028 their recording would make them sound better with a warm rich timbre. It sounded real yet better according to Dave. Alot of artists when recording tend to focus on the microphone or what room the recording is in but the Neve 8028 made artists such as Dave Grohl think about the impact that the mixing console may have.

Rupert Neve Rupert Neve.

Now let’s jump into talking about the main man, Rupert Neve was a British engineer born in 1926 on July 31. He was considered a pioneering designer of professional audio recording equipment. He even served his country well during World War 2. He was enlisted in the Royal Corp of Signals which had the purpose of providing communication support to the army. After the war he could focus on things that he loved so in the 1960s he did just that and founded Neve Electronics in 1961. After that comes in great tracks that would define the genre as discussed previously.

Neve’s EQ design Neve 8028

One of Neve’s many great achievements was the creation of his flagship EQ design, which would be implemented in most of the mixing console for years to come. The “Neve sound” as it’s referred to. This great idea came from his idea to remove the need to rerecord after a live performance.


Rupert Neve’s Technical grammy.

To my eyes this man can be seen as the Steve Jobs of audio equipment. What he has done for the industry as a whole is phenomenal to the point where even artists praise the genius. However I must inform you that he unfortunately passed away on February 21st 2021. Rest in peace to a king. We won’t leave it on a sad note however cos in 1997 he was awarde with a technical Grammy for his achievements within the field.

Practical Research

Roland TR808

An iconic machine

One amazing audio electronic device that has been brought up many times in the music industry, has to be mentioned on one of my blogs. It’s iconic for its memorable drums sounds such as the 808 kick, 808 snare, hi hat and many more. The Roland TR808 is the origin for the “808s” and it became popularized through many hit songs in hip-hop. In this blog I will go through the history of this machine and its impact on music and audio electronics.

History Ikutaro Kakehashi. Legendary Japanese Engineer.

Funnily enough you would think that my praise in the introduction would mean that it somewhat was commercially a success. However that is not the case. Quite the opposite. But let’s rewind time a bit to its invention. It was created by Ikutaro Kakehashi in 1980. He was born in Osaka and got his start through repairing broken watches and clocks later going on to graduate and earn a degree in mechanical engineering. He founded Roland Corporation in 1972 and began creating synthesisers and drum machines. What separated his iconic TR808 sound was the drum machine did not replicate accurate drum set sounds, it did more of a futuristic drum sound. Most memorable was the bass heavy sound.

Impact on music

It’s tricky by Run DMC. Picture provided by Amazon.

The Roland TR808’s impact on music has been phenomenal to say the least. Although it failed commercial and it’s product line discontinued, its drum sounds were in many top hip hop hits. It spawned many great artists and a new type of artist coined with the nickname “bedroom producers”. Nowadays bedroom producers are quite the common way of how people get interested into music such as myself. One great artist is Rick Rubin who used one in his NYU dorm. The first hit to be associated with the TR808 was Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa in 1982. Then it was Marvin Gaye’s Sexual healing that brought it up to mainstream success. Famous tracks include it’s Tricky by Run DMC, Rock the Bells by LL Cool J, Emergency Room by Rihanna and Kanye even created an album called 808s and Heartbreaks. Many of these famous hits are in the genre of hip hop however nowadays this drum machine is being used in genres other than hip hop such as EDM. In my experience listening I started to notice that after doing some research and it is quite interesting to see how an audio electronic can have such a massive impact on the music industry.

Audio electronic impact 8raw8 drum machine. Similar to the TR808

Many of Roland’s competitors have tried to recreate this product such as Behringer’s RD 808. It doesn’t even try to hide the fact that it’s trying to make an exact clone. HINT HINT, the names are very similar. The 8raw8 analog drum expander is quite an interesting “clone”. I recommend taking a look at it. Here is the link. . I don’t necessarily dislike these “clones”, in fact I welcome innovation as it always leads to beautiful spurs of spontaneous art.

A great machine.

Picture provided by Amazon Prime Video. Great documentary about everything you need to know on the Roland TR808.

Wow! This research on the TR808 has been quite fun. It’s quite amazing how technology can impact. Maybe one day I could be like Ikutaro Kakehashi ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. If you enjoyed reading this blog I recommend watching the documentary 808 available on Amazon Prime. That being said I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed this research so I am looking forward to researching another famous piece of hardware in audio electronics. The Neve 8028 mixing desk!!!. See you on the next blog post :D.


Electronic circuits Electronic circuit

A discussion I had with a friend of mine made him ask me a very good question. This discussion began when I had told him about my project. I told him it included building an electrical circuit with some code running through it. He then asked me is it the same type of circuit as one used in a computer. To which I replied, I actually do not know. Thus began my research on Christmas Eve on a mission to find the answer to the question that was asked.

What is an electronic circuit?

A chip is a tiny piece of silicon. A chip may be a single transistor or an integrated circuit made up of interconnected transistors. Chips are encapsulated in an airtight plastic or ceramic enclosure called a package.

There are 2 types of integrated circuits or ICs: Monolithic and Hybrid. Monolithic ICs contain the entire circuit on one single chip. The amount of transistors they have can range from a few to millions. Hybrid ICs have a circuit with several chips inside the package. The chips in a hybrid IC may have transistors, capacitors and Monolithic IC chips.

Printed Circuit Boards/ PCBs

A PCB holds an electronic circuit together. The completed PCB with components attached is called a printed circuit boardassembly or PCBA for short.

Most important part of an electronic circuit are the transistors. Diodes act as valves to allow current flow in only one direction. Other passive components that we are familiar with already are the capacitor and resistor. An inductor is one that we have yet to encounter. Its commonly found in electronic circuits and its purpose is to store up energy in the form of a magnetic field. They are uncommon and found usually more in larger powered circuits.

Most PCBs are created using CAD (computer aided design). Many of the circuits we see in computers today are extremely complex and use millions of transistors, therefore requiring CAD.

The Answer to the Question

Well after all that research I have come to the conclusion. The Answer is yes and no. While it may be similar is it’s use of same components, the PCBs are much more powerful and require more technical skill and knowledge to produce or manufacture. However that’s not to say that the circuits used in electrical engineering aren’t as complex. Quite the contrary, I appreciate both branches of engineering and how they apply in the real world it different situations. Furthermore it has made me notice the difference between electronic and electrical engineering.

Project Research

Music Theory

Since I have to find the music sheet for the melodies I have chosen, it is a wise choice to make the time to do some research on music theory. My music theory is adequate enough for the task at hand however it could use some basic revision to help make the research easier. I did some research on the 20th of November after going into town for some component shopping. Here is what I found.


Scales are a group of notes arranged by ascending or descending order of pitch. The two most common types of scales used in western music are usually major and minor. The key or pitch the scale is played in determines which notes can be played. For example Imagine by John Lennon is played in the key of C major. These notes include all the white keys on a piano. C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

Major scale

Major scales are defined by there combinations of whole steps and half steps. It goes like this. They have 7 notes Whole – Whole – Half – Whole – Whole – Whole – Half. You may use this with any note on the keyboard. If you start with G it would be a G Major scale and it’s note are G, A, B, C, D, E, F#. Major scales are mostly associated with happy or joyous feeling music.

Minor scale Minor scale formula

Minor scales are similar to major scales. The difference is the order of the combination of whole and half steps. Minor scales are defined by having a flattened third. A flattened third means the third note of the scale is three semitones above the first note and not 4 unlike the major scale. The formula for the minor scale is Whole – Half – Whole – Whole – half – Whole – Whole. Music in minor scale tends to be sad and melancholy.

Melody sheet ABC by Jackson 5

Now that the basics have been reviewed. Let’s compile a list of the melodies I want to play on my project and their melodie notation.

ABC by Jackson 5:

D  E G
“A B C”

B    B-A  G   D E G
It’s easy as 1 2 3

B     B-A    G    D   E   G
As simple as do re mi

A B G   B A G
A B C,  1 2 3

G-G     A      B     B     G
Baby, you and me girl

Still Dre by Dr. dre

Still Dre by Dr Dre: Right hand A E C x8, A E B, G E B x5. Left hand: A A (First AEC) B B (Seventh A E C) E E (First A E B), E E (Fourth G E B) What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong

What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong:

C   E      F      A    ^C
I see trees of green,

^D  ^D-^D  ^C
Red roses too

Bb Bb   Bb       A
I see them bloom,

G      G     G     F
For me and you

F       F    F      F      F – F
And I think to myself,

F         F      E – F – G       A
What a wonderful world.

Minor issue

I realised after looking at all the notation that my ability to play a piano is not really up to par. Alongside building the circuit, minor (see what I did there) practice may be required or just playing the melodies constantly until it sounds coherent enough to enjoy.

Planning Project Research

A run into error

Hi so you may have noticed on my previous blogs that my project suddenly made a component change and had a new component review blog. This is because during this project I was behind due to personal reasons. Due to that I was left during Christmas behind on schedule and when it came to building the circuit there were no tutorials or help I could go to during this time.

Below are the pictures of the schematic and what my circuit looked like when I couldn’t get it to work.

My circuit.
Schematic for melody shaper

I ensured that all the values of the components were correct such as the capacitor being at 100uF. Possible errors may be from how the jumper wires are connected. However my main speculation is that the battery is suppose to be the external power source plugged into the Arduino separately


I continued to rearrange the circuit in order to get it working however it was to no avail. It felt as if I was continuously going the wrong direction when looking for my destination. At times I nearly felt like giving up however I remember one thing, the power of the internet! Just one problem there were no tutorials at all on this. So instead I jumped to another project. This one.

This was called the Arduino mini piano. One key difference I noticed was the code programmed the push buttons to play individual notes rather than coded melodies that would play after being uploaded to the circuit. This was interesting as it made me notice that I could compile a pros and cons list for the two and compare them.

Project time!

I jumped straight into it, as you can see on the previous blog with the component review. Now it is time to build this new mini Arduino project and play the melodies intended.

Practical Project

Components for Prototype 1

Untitled sketch bb xtzeuuzjoe
Circuit diagram for my project

For my components I did not need to use a multimeter to see the value of any of the components as they do not possess any. Here are all of my components.

Component list

Jumper wires. M to M and M to F

Used to connect the Arduino to the breadboard.


Allows for connects to be made on the breadboard in order to complete the circuit. A bigger breadboard allows for more electrical components. For mine specifically it requires space for 11 6mm pushbuttons.

Push buttons – 11 required for differet keys.

Push button 1 – C, Push button 2 – CD, Push button 3 – D etc.

Each key when pressed will correspond to a different note such as in a piano or keyboard.

Arduino Uno

Allows code to run through making it a programmable circuit board. When connected to a laptop, code may be uploaded via arduino.exe. When running the code, it will debug before allowing to upload into the Arduino. This ensures that you put down the correct code and desk check for any errors.

All the ports on the Arduino uno allow for connects to be made with the jumper wires.

Piezo speaker/buzzer.

Used for the audio output of the keyboard. When any pushbutton is pressed, a tone will play through the piezo speaker.

I however may change this component to a small 1w speaker in order to have a higher quality sound although it wont make much of a difference as each button will only play one tone or a dual tone at most.

Lets get started!

Now that all the components have been reviewed, It is time to begin assembling the circuit! Join me in my next blog for that.


Audio circuits!

Surfing the internet many interesting things come up such as the Top 10 video games of the year or cute and funny cat videos. However that not what has caught my attention this past week. Funnily enough it has been the topic of audio electronics. Audio circuits to be more precise. I browsed the internet on audio circuits and I came across a few interesting websites that detailed a lot about how to build simple circuits with Arduino. In the following blog post I will detail some simple Arduino board circuits to help me understand audio electronics much better and hey!, if you find anything interesting feel free to try them yourself.

Arduino Uno REV3


RGB has been getting ever so popular with gaming products on the rise in terms of sales and production. I’ve always wondered how they work and I finally found the circuit that showed just that.
To begin the parts needed are:

  • (1) Arduino Uno
  • (1) USB A-to-B cable
  • (1) Breadboard
  • (1)RGB LED
  • (3 )300 ohm Resistor
  • (5) jumper wires
arduino uno projects for beginners
RGB LED circuit

Connect the Arduino board to a computer using a USB cable. Download the file Circuit_09_RGBLED and open the project code in Arduino.
Select the board and serial port so that the code is able to run through the board. Ensure everything is running and once that is done, click the upload button to send the sketch to Arduino.
What should follow is that the LED will turn on and change different colours.

RGB fan for a computer. Nowadays it is very common to see an average gamer have something RGB related.

Push Button

Learning how to create a circuit with a push button is important if you want to learn to create anything as a majority of products have buttons with functions on it. This specific circuit that I am going to show has an LED light switch on after a press of a button. For me, learning how this circuit works is beneficial as it opens up the idea of adding buttons to my. project. These are the parts you are going to need:

  • Arduino uno
  • USB A to B cable
  • Breadboard – half size
  • 1 LED 5mm
  • 220 Ohm resistor
  • 10k ohm resistor
  • push button switch
  • 6 jumper wires

Connect the Arduino board to a computer using a USB cable. Download the file and code related to this project on and open the project code in Arduino.
Select the board and serial port so that the code is able to run through the board. Ensure everything is running and once that is done, click the upload button to send the sketch to Arduino.
What should follow is that the LED will turn on after a press of a button.

Working with an LED and a Push Button - Arduino Project Hub

Much More

I could spend more time detailing more circuits on how to make them however I’ll just leave it at these 2. When you learn 1 circuit it is possible to combine these circuits to complete ‘harder’ functions. For example a circuit with a button should look similar regardless if the function is to turn on a button that makes a noise or emits a light. Overall the world of electronics is daunting at first however if you take it step by step and circuit by circuit it all comes together.


A test run

I recently received my components on the 3rd of November. I immediately wanted to begin the project. However to be honest it is a daunting task as I have not been doing practical work on audio electronics in a whole year! So to ease this pressure I think a test run of some sort is was due. On November 5th I went to the electronics lab at DMU on campus to inspect and understand all my components.

Electronic Component Shortages Update -- 2022 and Beyond
Electrical components

Component list

My electronics kit I ordered
  • Arduino Board
  • Piezo speaker
  • 2N222 Transistor
  • 1K Resistor
  • 100uF Capacitor
  • 9v battery
  • Male to male jumper wires
  • 3 pin female header

There were a couple components that I was already familiar with before getting my hands on. This is because they were reviewed previously on another blog post. This included the:

  • 1k resistor
  • 100uF Capacitor
  • 2N222 Transistor

I began with the most vital component of any circuit, the circuit board itself. This one in particular is an Arduino board. Arduino (as discussed in a previous blogpost) is an open source platform used for building electronic projects. It consists of a physical programmable circuit board, which I have in my hand in the picture below, and a piece of software or IDE that runs on a computer. This piece of software can be used to upload and write computer code to perform functions such as play sound or light an LED. One particular aspect that makes Arduino very accessible to beginners is the use of USB. Furthermore it uses C++ program which is very popular and easier to learn.

Arduino Uno Rev3 — Arduino Official Store
Arduino Uno REV3 board

The piezo speaker is the component of the project that will produce the sound. It is a loudspeaker that used the piezoelectric effect for generating sound. In laymen terms the piezoelectric effect is when a material has the ability to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress.

How Piezoelectric Speakers Work - Technical Articles
Piezo speaker

The jumper wires that are going to be used are electric wires that connects remote electric circuits used for printed circuit boards such as Arduino. A jumper wire can short circuit a circuit and short cut to the electric circuit.

Male to Male jumper wires

The battery is 9v. It will act as a source of power for the circuit. It will enable the piezo speaker to function.

Duracell Plus Power 9V Battery - A S Supplies (Retford) Ltd.
9v Battery

What we have here for me is a 3 pin female header. A pin header is a type of electrical connecter. It is used to take current or signal transmissions.

HARWIN M20-7822046
Female pin header

Simple practice

Once I got to understand each and every part through getting hands on experience I wanted to test myself with building a very basic circuit that implements simple code. I found a similar circuit on Arduino’s website that uses a simpler version of the code that I will run. Here is the link to the website.
Tinkercad was used before physically starting it, to ensure that the code would run properly.
This circuit plays a melody using code through a piezo speaker connected to the arduino uno board.


The setup was followed on the website through TinkerCAD and I typed all the code into the script. I then setup the schematic (as seen above). I ran the code and it played a very scuffed melody through the piezo speaker. After the test was a success, with the code being runnable, I began with following the schematics and building this simple circuit.

Tone Schematic
Schematic to simple circuit

Once the jumper wires were connected from the arduino board to the breadboard it was time to ensure that the circuit was working. I opened up Arduino in my laptop so I could input the code. It was very easy as I just; copied the code into the Arduino and let it run. Once the code ran, I uploaded it into the board and it played a melody through the piezo speaker.

Arduino board connected to a piezo speaker using a breadboard

An Overall Success

The test run was a success as I got to understand all the components of my project. Furthermore I built a very basic circuit which has a similar function to mine in order to get some hands on practice before I begin the project. I am more prepared and excited to begin!