Can you make a song using only Arduino made instruments?

Certain music styles and trends are related to restrictions. Instead of using all the possibilities available, you rely on a subset.

In this case restrictions were forced by Covid-19 quarantine. My Fender Stratocaster was left in the rehearsal studio and I started to think whether I could make my own instruments to record a song with Arduinos and other cheap parts found in my drawers like potentiometers, old joysticks and IR sensors.

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Arduino drum machine

I started with a drum machine. It was made with Arduino UNO, 5 potentiometers, one button, 4 leds and nothing else. One potentiometer for the BPMs and the other four to select the sound in every beat.

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Atari joystick synth

The next instrument was a synthesizer made with Arduino Nano, a 7 segment display and an Atari 2600 Paddle joystick. The wheel is used to change the pitch and the button to play the sound. The bass line and the final chiptune notes were recorded with this instrument.

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Theremin

The last instrument was a Theremin, made with Arduino Nano, a potentiometer, 2 switches, 1 Led and a distance IR sensor. Scales are configured with the potentiometer and the switches are used for vibrato and effects. If you put your hand close to the Theremin, lower notes will be played and if you put your hand high, higher notes will be played.

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Drum machine circuits

Lyrics for this song are related to government surveillance programs like Room641a, the telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T.

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Audacity multitracking recording

I’ve used Audacity software to record separate tracks: one for the drum machine, one for the bass line, one for the Theremin, one for the final Atari games notes and 2 tracks for vocals. I’ve used a Lo-Fi telephone equalization filter for the voice and some reverb as well.

Room641a, the song made with all Arduino boards was published in SoundCloud — Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

More details about Arduino instruments in this link https://www.hackster.io/roni-bandini

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Writer :: Maker :: Musician

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