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Create 8-bit Tunes with ESP8266!

Reporting from Shanghai, China
Jun 12, 2019

Wanna bring back 8-bit music with a gadget that can add such visual feedback as musical notes and lyrics? Here’s how!

Chipmusic, also known as 8-bit music or chiptunes, is  a kind of electronic music that is characteristic of the 1980s early home computers and videogame sounds. The chiptune sound is associated with 8-bit, which is the technological architecture of the used platforms. Chip musicians, on the other hand, are a twenty-first century online and transnational network of musicians who are geographically dispersed across more than thirty countries worldwide, but well-connected over the Internet. It seems as if ericBcreator posted a recent project on hackster.io especially for them, as it puts 8-bit music to the epicenter of digital creativity.

In fact, the above-mentioned project  is an Arduino/ESP library for playing melodies, with such visual feedback as musical notes or lyrics (user-programmable feature).

chiptunes

The specific project posted on hackster.io uses the ESP8266-based Wemos D1 mini, but it can work with other Espressif or Arduino development boards, as well. Through a buzzer or small speaker, this gadget  plays melodies programmed with notes, rests and other commands that are similar to the old BASIC PLAY() command. It can also provide visual feedback displaying on 8x8 LED matrices the musical notes, while they are being played, or the lyrics that go with the resulting tune.

The playback engine is fairly enhanced, as it supports the most frequently-used musical values (ranging from whole notes to sixty-fourth notes), triplets, dotted notes and rests, as well as flats, sharps, octaves, legato, staccato, tempo and transpose functions.

The schematic diagram for a  Wemos D1 mini is shown below:

schematics

To access the code and all the details about this project, you can click here. To watch a YouTube video demonstrating a number of tunes programmed with the gadget described in this article, you can click here.

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