current project: musical LEDs

A few weeks back I was sat on my bed with my baritone saxophone on my lap. You know, the one that looks and feels like there’s a 6 year old metallic child attached to your chest. (no, not like that).

He’s the newest addition to my family, and for those that were wondering, is called Duke Reginald (names courtesy of Emma-Ashley and Joe. By the way, you should all follow @joe_stead), or Duke for short.

Anyway, as I often do, I decided LEDs were necessary so I went back to a project I had a while back of putting a trinket, microphone and 32 LEDs on the bell. (heh)

As breadboards are for smart people, I soldered it all together (see photo) and tested initially with the microphone reading volume and outputting to the red LED on the board- trinkets don’t have serial output, so this was a good test and I successfully had it listening. See vine:

So the next logical step is to take this and spread it amongst 32 LEDs…aaaand now I’m stuck.

I found the neopixel tutorial by adafruit and tried to put it on trinket. Nope. Nope nope nope nope not working.

I…looked at the other neopixel library which is used for 3 wire neopixels (like the rings, the new strips and the wearable neopixels). Nope. still not working.

I…gave up and played some loud notes on my baritone.

I…spoke to Andrew down at the local geek meet up and discovered that the SPI library won’t work on a trinket/ATTiny chip and that this is probably the source of my problem. Will update when I’ve tested this but it’s something.

Ideally the plan is this:

– get volume working (which will dictate how many LEDs are turned on)

– get pitch working for the baritone (which will dictate what colour the LEDs are)

– get pitch working for my clarinet

– get pitch working for my tenor saxophone

– combine the three and have some form of switch so that I can change instrument without reprogramming.

The last one is kind of optional, I just would like this to be reasonably portable. This is why another suggestion, which is to put pressure pads on each key, isn’t really an option and would also more likely damage the instrument than merely sticking a microphone over the bit the noise comes out.


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