How to make a MIDI piano Interface
Create a hackable MIDI controller!
The Touch Board can be used as a MIDI interface to send MIDI note data to a programs like Garage Band and Ableton Live. In order to setup the Touch Board as a MIDI interface we first need to download some supporting files to place in your Arduino Hardware folder and then upload some Arduino code. Let’s get going!
If you’re an Ableton Live user, make sure to check out our Touch Board + Ableton Live tutorial here!
Ready to put your own code on the Touch Board? Follow this tutorial to get started.
Get ready for untethered musical fun!
To begin you will need:
1 x Electric Paint Pen or Jar
1 x Touch Board
1 x USB A to USB Micro B cable
1 x Computer running Mac OS, Windows or Linux
1 x A4 sheet of paper (preferably over 200 g/m^2)
1 x Masking tape
1 x Vinyl or plastic stencil (optional)
1 x Paint brush
Plug in your Touch Board
Plug your Touch Board into your computer using a micro USB cable and turn the switch ON. If this is the first time you are programming your Touch Board please go to the “Setting up Arduino with your Touch Board” tutorial first. Before we start making MIDI notes you need to get Arduino setup properly to work with the Touch Board. Don’t worry, its easy!
Upload the MIDI interface code
Open the “Midi_interface” program by double clicking the file, or browse to it using the Arduino IDE:
File→Sketchbook→Touch Board Examples→Midi interface.
Ensure that Bare Conductive Touch Board (USB MIDI, iPad compatible) is selected under Tools→Board and that the correct serial (CU) port is selected under Tools→Port.
With all of the correct settings selected, click File→Upload to push the code to the Touch Board. The RX and TX LEDs will flash on the Touch Board and the Arduino IDE should say “Done uploading” after a couple seconds.
You can test the code by touching an electrode to see if the ‘L’ LED lights up red on each press.
Open Garage Band
Open Garage Band and wait for the program to open. Then, create a new project selecting the piano icon
Once this is open it should detect the MIDI input from the Touch Board and notify you with a pop-up dialog box stating it has found a midi input device. Run your finger across the Touch Board’s electrodes and Piano key notes should light up and sound from Garageband!
Connecting to an iPad or iPhone
If you have a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or an Apple 40-pin to USB Camera Adapter you can also connect the Touch Board to an iPad or iPhone. Install Garage Band onto your smart device and using the same code on your Touch Board you can send Midi data to the program. Have a play around with different instruments if you like, its pretty cool playing them on paper instead of a screen!