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Electr'Ocarina of Time Answered

Hi there!

Okay so here i am with this idea i've been tackle with for weeks. Hold tight it's a long presentation.

Basically, i would like to make en electronic version of the Ocarina of time from Zelda.
I would like to keep it really simple at least for the first step. So it will look like a proper ocarina but instead of holes there will be 6 arcade buttons ( Red, Green and 4 yellow as a reminder of the N64 gamepad buttons).
Each button is assigned a note wich will be played while blowing through a microphone. The sound will be a synthesized sinewave that would be played thanks to a speaker. Will be great also if the device could work on a USB chargeable battery.

I Have been doing researches on how to make it for a while now, though could'nt find exactly what i was looking for and not sure how to fit different parts together to make a worrkable fork. So i believe i have two options. As you may guess i am fairly new to electronics, programming and electronic music (Lol i read that all the times).

To be as clear as possible i am gonna put some schemes of how i picture myself the electronic but i really don't know how it's supposed to be managed, i mean i know there will be some resistors, capacitors or whatever between the "function blocks" i draw but i have absolutely no clue of what should actually really appear.

Option 1 - Analog

So i made this stylophone few months ago : https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Stylophone/
It is based on a 555 timer (i also saw some mini synths based on this component). It felt to me as a good starting point. Volume would be controlled through the mic instead of a pot and i would get rid of the pitch pot and all the unecessary notes. But i would like it to sound more fluty and so i found this tuto on how to make a sinewave but don't know how to use it in this project (or even if possible) : http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/Sine-wave-generator-circuit-with-a-555-timer.php
Regarding the microphone part I've also seen this insctrutable but the synth seemed to me way over what i planed to do in terms of sound synthesis ability : https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Flute-Synth/

Option 2 - Digital

So comes option 2 wich consist in using an arduino to synthesize the wave that would play if microphone is HIGH and if button 1 is High key 1 would be played etc.
The scheme I provided seem definitely wrong to me but that's a first shot anyway.
About sound synthesis with arduino i found this library i havent gone through the tutorial yet but it seem a little bit picky.

So as you see i am kinda lost and a little clarification would be awesomely nice. I am actually working in a fablab and i would like to develop this project to be used as a workshop. Im pretty sure lots of old grown up kids would love to get a little ocarina. There are some other options i would like to implement (regarding what happend if you press several buttons or none) but well first things first.

Hope you like the Idea, hope you can help.
Love, Starsheeps and Electro-cupcakes!




2 years ago

You might be overthinking the project a little bit.
Take the microphone:
You want to use it to control volume by blowing on it - quite complex.
Far easier to use you real blow, the air you produce, with a flow sensor.
To keep the basics easy a tiny motor with a fan would do - use the produced voltage to control the volume.
Or fake the volume control by using a pressure sensor to check how hard you press you lips on it - that way you can breathe through nose and play for hours.
Just two examples but I guess you will now be able to think of even more ;)

For the sound itself:
If you search for electronic organs you find stuff like this or this. - Damn this crappy editor!!!



You get the point...
These circuits are fairly simple and you can change the sound by replacing a few components to get closer to what you desire.


Reply 2 years ago

My first thought for volume control would be a pill of QTC on the mouthpiece - the harder you bite it, the lower the resistance, the higher the volume (maybe sandwich the pill between two plates so that it's easier to bite & squeeze).

Here's a description of QTC:


Some suppliers will send you pill-sized pieces as free samples, but it's quite cheap anyway.


Reply 2 years ago

Thanks but blowing into the device is actually something i want to keep for that project
thanks for the advice though


Reply 2 years ago

Thanks for the answer. The idea of the fan on tiny motor seems great to me. Makes the device power self sufficient that's perfect.
Do you know if there are special things to do if i want to connect it as power source to the adafruit board down the page? ( what should i know to select the motor, should there be extra resistor or diodes between motor and board?)



Reply 2 years ago

If you use a motor to get a speed signal it will work but I doubt any motor you can find will work as generator providing enough power for the circuit.


2 years ago

For prototyping, use this as the base https://www.adafruit.com/product/2133 - you can make it a custom 11 note ocarina. Music synthesis to get good or more realistic sounds is tough to do with a basic arduino. It lacks the processing power and you usually only end up with beep like tones. Raspberry pi is probably more suited for sample playback vs arduino and a whole bunch of add on shields. The audio FX board is monophonic - press one note, get one sound. You would probably move on to more complicated hardware for polyphonic - more than one note at a time to sound chords. Good luck.


Reply 2 years ago

Any idea if Piezo could be used as switches? (not related to this project but anoter one i thought about for a while)


Reply 2 years ago

They can but you have to add on a little bit of circuitry to amplify or trim out the electronic signal from a piezo element to be suitable for feeding into an arduino or microcontroller. If you are thinking any kind of drum project, look up "knock sensor arduino" to give you the basics. A piezo buzzer can be used as sort of a reverse microphone.