Unlock your inner Mozart with Piano HAT, the ultimate mini musical companion for your Raspberry Pi!
Piano HAT has been a long time in the making, mostly because we always seem to be busy with something else.
While Piano HAT is perfectly fine just playing wav samples of any instrument you want ( I source them from the Free Sound Project: https://www.freesound.org ) I've been using it as an excuse to explore software synthesizers on the Raspberry Pi, including my old favourite SunVox which is available for most platforms.
Probably the best fit at the moment is Yoshimi (
sudo apt-get install yoshimi ), it's a great little synth but really needs a Pi 2 for best effect. There are some great patches available for Yoshimi, and it supports the midi "patch change" signal too ( if you compile it yourself ), so the Instrument button will actually cycle through the patches in your current bank... if these words make no sense to you-
- In a synthesizer, a patch is a single configured sound - the word probably stems from the act of "patching signals together"
- A bank is a collection of patches
Another interesting bit of sonic tinkering has been with Python's Pyo ( http://ajaxsoundstudio.com/software/pyo/ ), suggested by @sandyjmacdonald, it was a complete and total dog to get installed and running so I'm going to have to investigate making that easier, but once it's up you can code a synthesizer in chunks using Python and then play it in realtime. It's a great way for more advanced users to get a feel for how sound generation works. In theory Pyo could take an audio input signal and do funky things with it in realtime.
Finally, MIDI out works really well... I mean really well. Even though my crusty old USB to MIDI cable which conks out if you move it slightly. There's really no latency that I can detect, which is fantastic because it drives me nuts. ( Latency would be the delay between you pressing a key, and a note sounding... any delay makes it frustrating to play ).
I've no idea what USB to MIDI cables work with the Pi, but if you test one let us know. You can use the Pi and Piano HAT as a controller for basically any old synth gear you might have lying around. We hooked it up to @rabid_inventor's Korg Electribe which was far more fun than should be allowed in a work environment:
Anyway, I've waffled on too long! Discuss :D