Introduction: How to Make a MIDI Interface

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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!

For more project ideas visit www.bareconductive.com

Step 1: Materials

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To begin you will need:

1 x Electric Paint Tube 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

Step 2: ​Plug in Your Touch Board

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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!

Step 3: Upload the MIDI Interface Code

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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.

Step 4: ​Open Garage Band

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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!

Step 5: ​Connecting to an IPad or IPhone

Picture of ​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!

If you liked this tutorial visit www.bareconductive.com for more!

Comments

JacobB132 (author)2016-08-05

Very nice project! But the Touch Board seems a bit overkill. Will it be possible to do it with something like a Teensy or a Arduino Leonardo?

Hi Jacob, I might have made what you are looking for, a midi controller with 12 inputs, using the Arduino and the same concept as the Touch Board. You can find it here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Cheap-Arduino-MIDI-Controller/

The goal of this project is to highlight one of the many features the Touch Board has, not to suggest this is the only use of the board.

I'm sure the same can be accomplished with other tools :)

Bas van Straaten (author)2016-07-18

Hey BareConductive, I once made my own advanced MIDI controller using your paint and code for a school project. I adapted your code to work with multiple touch sensors, turned out to be pretty cool!: https://youtu.be/90TumdKZ6k0?t=3s

Hey @Bas van Straaten nice video! Do you also have any hi-re images you could share with us? You can email us here: info@bareconductive.com

PatrickE4 (author)2016-07-19

hmm wonder if i could do this with my first gen kindle.

mazhar5012 (author)2016-07-14

Let me try this weekend

Hey @mazhar5012, nice! Let us know if you have any questions and it'd be great if you could share it with us, here: info@bareconductive.com

About This Instructable

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Bio: Bare Conductive makes creative electronic tools for any designer, engineer or aspiring maker.
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