Here’s a great FPGA final project from Cornell University student Joao Diogo Faloao. It is a visual MIDI-based musical composition tool running on an Altera DE-2 FPGA board. This one’s going to appeal to a very small subset of people – those trained to read and write musical notation, and who also have a pretty good working knowledge of FPGAs. If you don’t fit into that tiny little niche, don’t worry. That’s why there’s a video!
Project creator Joao describes his vision in a nutshell:
Joao has set the interface up so that a computer keyboard is used to select the rhythmic value of the note (from whole note/rest – 64th note/rest). Once the value is selected, the note can be placed anywhere on the staff (determines pitch/frequency of the note). When your musical composition is done, it is saved in the FPGA’s SRAM memory and can then be played back by hitting enter on the keyboard.
I think it could be even better if it had support for a MIDI controller keyboard, so rather than entering your notes with the computer keyboard, you could just play the notes naturally on your controller keyboard and they would show up on the musical staff onscreen. Of course, there are already commercial products available that can do this (check out Sibelius, for example). For a student project on an FPGA though, this ain’t bad at all. Great job!
You can check out Joao’s full project page here.
(via Cornell University student project pages)