Mario plays piano with a little help from Raspberry Pi


[David] has created his own live robot band to play live versions of the music and sound effects of NES games. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s have the music of Nintendo games burned into our brains. While there have been some amazing remixes created over the years, [David] has managed to do something truly unique. Armed with an emulator, some software prowess, and a pair of Raspberry Pis, [Dave] created a system that plays game music and sound effects on analog instruments. A Yamaha Disklavier player piano handles most of the work through a connection to a Raspberry Pi. Percussion is handled by a second Pi.  Snare drum, wood block, and tambourine are all actuated by a custom solenoid setup.

The conversion process all happens on the fly as the game is played. [Dave] says the process has about ½ second of lag when played live, but we’re sure that could be fixed with some software tweaks.

We especially like the inclusion of Super Mario Brothers 2, as the intro music seems to have been written for piano. There have been offline conversions before, but hearing (and seeing) the original music played “live” on a real piano is something special.

One note on the sound. If it sounds as if the piano is “stepping on itself” at times, it is. The Piano is handling both background music and sound effects. Mario’s jumps and skid sounds fall right in the same octaves as the music.

[via BoingBoing]


  1. CJ says:

    This reminds me of playing my favorite black and white silent video games as a kid when ol’ Joe would accompany the game on our piano.

  2. seanfalloy says:

    Obviously you edited out the lag in the video but very well put together. I like it

  3. nerdwaller says:

    This is fantastic. Kudos.

  4. This is truly fantastic. However long it took … totally worth it.

  5. webkris says:

    I think Super Mario 2 sounds the best!
    Great work!
    – Kris

  6. CatX says:

    Bravo. It would be better if one more instrument is used for the sound effect. Guitar maybe?

  7. Well done!
    “I will play Super Mario Bros on the Piano” just got another meaning!

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