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From the Adafruit Learning System: Tiny Arduino Music Visualizer #ArduinoD14

Tiny Arduino Music Visualizer: Maximum blinkenlights, minimum effort!

Here’s an easy-to-build project that really packs a lot of blinkenlight for the effort: a little pocket-size music visualizer we call “Piccolo.”

Set Piccolo next to the telly or some speakers and you’ll see the lights respond to music and sound — lowest notes toward the left end of the graph, highest notes toward the right.

Technically this would be called a “spectrum analyzer,” but as this is not a precision scientific instrument, we’re more comfortable labeling it a “visualizer.” It’s strictly for show.

This intermediate Arduino project shows a clear progression from input to processing and then output in a package that’s appealing and easy for minds to grasp: music and lights. It’s not abstract or “science-y” unless you choose to peel back the layers…

Featured in this guide:

Check out the full tutorial here!


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Adafruit Bicolor LED Square Pixel Matrix with I2C Backpack: What’s better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! A fun way to make a small colorful display is to use a 1.2″ Bi-color 8×8 LED Matrix . Matrices like these are ‘multiplexed’ – so to control all the 128 LEDs you need 24 pins. That’s a lot of pins, and there are driver chips like the MAX7219 that can help control a matrix for you but there’s a lot of wiring to set up and they take up a ton of space. Here at Adafruit we feel your pain! After all, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could control a matrix without tons of wiring? That’s where these adorable LED matrix backpacks come in. We have them in three flavors – a mini 8×8, 1.2″ Bi-color 8×8 and a 4-digit 0.56″ 7-segment. They work perfectly with the matrices we stock in the Adafruit shop and make adding a bright little display trivial. It’s called a Bicolor LED, but you can have 3 colors total by turning on the red and green LEDs, which creates yellow. That’s 3 colors for the price of 2! Read More!


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March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.


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