Piano keys are so limiting! Why not swap them out for LEDs and the wealth of instruments in Pygame to build air keys, as demonstrated by Instructables maker 2fishy?
Keys? Where we’re going you don’t need keys!
This project, created by either Yolanda or Ken Fisher (or both!), uses an array of LEDs and photoresistors to form a MIDI sequencer. Twelve LEDs replace piano keys, and another three change octaves and access the menu.
Each LED is paired with a photoresistor, which detects the emitted light to form a closed circuit. Interrupting the light beam — in this case with a finger — breaks the circuit, telling the Python program to perform an action.
Using Pygame, the 2fishy team can access 75 different instruments and 128 notes per instrument, making their wooden piano more than just a one-hit wonder.
The duo made the piano’s body out of plywood, hardboard, and dowels, and equipped it with a Raspberry Pi 2, a speaker, and the aforementioned LEDs and photoresistors.
A complete how-to for the build, including some rather fancy and informative schematics, is available at Instructables, where 2fishy received a bronze medal for their project. Congratulations!
If you’d like to learn more about using Pygame, check out The MagPi’s Make Games with Python Essentials Guide, available both in print and as a free PDF download.
And for more music-based projects using a variety of tech, be sure to browse our free resources.
Lastly, if you’d like to see more piano-themed Raspberry Pi projects, take a look at our Big Minecraft Piano, these brilliant piano stairs, this laser-guided piano teacher, and our video below about the splendid Street Fighter duelling pianos we witnessed at Maker Faire.