Thursday, October 16, 2014

My tryst with Arduino and MP3 shield to help play ambient music at worship times

Every worship musician knows that the right kind of music goes a long way in worshiping the LORD. If the right music is played at the right time, the worship experience is so refreshing and enriching.
If you have the keyboard player with you while worshiping he/she can help in playing ambient pads or other soothing music helping in facilitating and making your job easier, but at most times, we might not have that luxury…
Some worship leaders when leading solo, carry these ambient pads and play them out of their IPAD’s into a volume pedal and into the sound board…



But if you are playing the guitar, then this task also becomes cumbersome…

So, I wanted to do something that I can use like a guitar pedal…. (I like guitar pedalsJ)

Idea
·         Use an Arduino and a MP3 shield and make one…

Goal
·         Play and loop a MP3 file (these ambient pads come for different scales  ...)
·         Use foot switches to change the scale, play the selected file and STOP when needed…
·         Have a 7 Segment display to indicate which scale is  the ambient pad playing (and when you change you need to know which scale to choose)

Challenges
·         The 7 Segment display can show only A, B, C….. etc but how do you show A#, C#.....
·         How in the world do you indicate Minor scale files – Am, Bm… etc
·         After using the MP3 shield the number of available Digital pins are only 4

After much thought, I came up with the following solutions…
·         Have the . (dot) at the 7 segment display to indicate if it is a ‘ # ’.
·         Have an LED to indicate if it is a MAJOR or MINOR
·         Use the Analog pins and use a Shift register for the display..


Sounds simple isn’t it? WRONG…. It was challenging… but I love challenges (the thing that I am worried is after I overcome the challenge and know that I can do it / I have solved it, I lose interest in pursuing it)







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