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Thread: Teensy spiral music visualization

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Sydney, Australia

    Teensy spiral music visualization

    Hi All,

    A few years ago I finished off a project with a teensy 3.6 to visualize MIDI data with LED strips. I've finally gotten off my backside and documented it. Hopefully others will enjoy.

    The device can be used in two ways:
    * If the teensy is plugged into the PC it acts as a MIDI device. Any MIDI data sent from the PC is both synthesized to sound as well as being displayed on the LEDs. (i.e. PC speakers are not used)
    * If an external MIDI USB device is plugged into the teensy's USB host port, then any notes are also synthezied as sound & displayed on the LEDs.
    There's no problem with using both simultaneously, if you want to have a MIDI file from the PC and play along with it.

    The nifty thing is how the music is visualized. The spiral allows you to see the absolute notes, with different instruments in different colours.
    • You can see an entire orchestra "Cooperating" to make a chord, without having to read 6 sets of sheet music at the same time.
    • Makes it extremely easy to see transpositions (they're just rotations)
    • Melodic inversion is just a mirror flip
    • Notes played stay visible for a time as a 'histogram'. Key signature can be inferred from this
    • Different instruments (midi channels) are different colours. Can see contributions of each instrument to the whole

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Github repo for the teensy version is here:
    and repo for the PC only python version is here:

    Big thanks to Paul for all the awesome example code, it made the project much easier.

    Here's a screencap of the python one to show the idea:


    [Edit: corrected URL for teensy version]
    Last edited by Gav; 11-20-2021 at 04:23 AM. Reason: Edit: corrected URL for teensy version

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Sydney, Australia
    And here's a video of the actual hardware playing:

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Oakland, CA, USA
    This is a really nice project.

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