ICDC Midi Controller

By Lloyd Abbott and ICDC society

Midi Controller close up

This 4x4 MIDI pad controller is a DIY tool for music production. When played, the pads light up which is useful as visual feedback when performing (but mainly it just looks cool). Each pad can be assigned to send MIDI messages over the USB cable to music production software. MIDI itself does not make sound, it is just a series of messages like “note on,” “note off,” “note/pitch,” “pitchbend,” and many more. These messages are interpreted by a MIDI instrument to produce sound. A MIDI instrument can be a piece of hardware (electronic keyboard, synthesizer) or part of a software environment ( Logic, Ableton, GarageBand, etc...). It was originally designed with playing drumkits in mind so each pad triggers a different drum/cymbal/noisy thing but it’s also interesting using it to play instruments too and seeing which patterns of pads create different chords.

Midi Controller  At the heart of it all is an Arduino processor board; it detects which buttons are being pressed, then lights up the corresponding pads and sends MIDI messages over the USB cable. The microprocessor is programmed in C which means its function can be changed to suit whatever application you like!