Making Beautifully Designed Music with Arduino

Arduino discovered Geert Bevin and this fun and open source project he’s been working on and we thought it would be interesting to our community to hear more about it.

Geert Bevin is a programmer, musician, instrument designer, author, speaker, and open-source contributor. He is known to many people in the electronic music community for his work with MIDI instruments (like the Eigenlabs Eigenharp); for his work as a software developer at Moog Music; and for being part of the MMA working group that is creating the MPE (Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression) specification. Geert has been playing music and developing since he was 10 years old, and is still doing both passionately today.  

Geert is a part of the LinnStrument project - an expressive electronic musical instrument with five dimensions of touch sensing. It was mainly designed and invented by Roger Linn, but Geert co-designed many of the features and developed the software in an open source environment. 

LinnStrument was built using the Arduino Due open source hardware board, and runs open-source firmware. There are hundreds of playing cells and multi-color LEDs, making it ideal to discover embedded Arduino development with beautiful musical and visual results. 

“Combining open source with art is essential, because artists need to be free to shape reality to their needs, to tweak, massage and combine elements into what feels right,” said Geert. “With any musical instrument, you can take it an expert or modify it yourself to achieve that. With most electronic instruments, you're stuck with the behavior that has been programmed into the machine.” 

Geert open-sourced the LinnStrument firmware since its birth because it's important that electronic musical instruments give the musician the same freedom as traditional instruments. If you love this music medium, it is critical to be able to change it, especially if you want to dedicate your life towards mastering the fine details that make a musical instrument unique.

A few thoughts to kids and other passionate Makers: We’re lucky to be living in a magical age where computers, sensors, screens, projectors, speakers, motors, and even robots have become immensely powerful and affordable at the same time. If you feel like creating something new, don't let anyone hold you back. Get a few devices that inspire you and start experimenting; figure out what you want the soul of the machine to be. All you need is time and passion, and you can build things that have profound impact on the lives of people around you.

A hint into the future of music using Arduino: We have been very pleased with the stability and speed of development with Arduino for LinnStrument. We are researching how we can leverage the technology that we have already refined and make it the cornerstone of other future musical instruments. I can't say more than that at this time though.

Stay tuned for more from Geert and the passionate music makers of LinnStrument. We are excited to be working with such amazing artists in the Arduino community.

Let us hear about your project!

LinnStrument presentation:

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