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
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.

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.


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!