Touchscreen Makes For A Neat Wavetable Synth

A popular tool in chiptune software like LSDJ allows the user to draw a waveform and use it as the basis for a wavetable synth. It’s fun and it can produce some great bleeps and bloops. [Kevin] has created a similar tool using an Arduino and a touchscreen.

You can draw the waveform! That’s neat.

The build is based on the Arduino Uno, the humble mainstay of the Arduino line. It’s hooked up to an ILI9488 color touchscreen display, which acts as the primary user interface. Using a stylus, or presumably a finger, the user can draw directly on the screen to specify the desired waveform for the synth to produce. The Arduino reads the step-by-step amplitude values of the drawn waveform and uses them to synthesize audio according to MIDI messages received over its serial port. Audio output is via PWM, as is common in low-cost microcontroller projects.

It’s a fun build and we’re sure [Kevin] learned plenty about wavetable synthesis along the way. We’ve seen his work on other Arduino synthesis projects before, too! Video after the break.

8 thoughts on “Touchscreen Makes For A Neat Wavetable Synth

  1. This will do no good but I will try at least.
    There is a much more interesting possibility
    Use a theremin antenna that detects hand position so that a hand can draw the waveform in the AIR
    Allow the time it takes to complete 1 wave to control the frequency of that wave.
    So for example if I complete 1 wave in 1 second and get 100HZ if I completed the same wave shape but in 1/2 a second I get 200HZ, if in 1/3 a second 300HZ
    Now I can simply wave my hand in the air to directly create music, not TIMBRE, but MUSIC
    Prediction, NO ONE WILL EVER DO THIS
    Because it requires imagination which is a dirty word, we like finding better ways of doing the same old thing instead of finding new things.

    1. What’s a good way to decide when to switch between pitches in your system? If choosing a note takes an appreciable, and variable, fraction of a second, you’ll have a much more difficult time playing music in general. Although I have little doubt there are genres and musical traditions where such restrictions would work well.

    2. So just derive an idea off of someone else’s project, then claim they’re the one who lacks imagination?

      Okay Mr. Originality, go build your wonder machines instead of being a twat to actual creative people online.

  2. Thanks for the interest and the mention.

    I also have a variant that “draws” the waveform using 16 slider potentiometers, but naturally that fidelity is even more limited than the touchscreen version. If you’re interested, see:

    As to originally, I’ve never claimed originality, in fact most of my site is “reinventing wheels”, but hopefully I’m not lacking in imagination – but there will always be more ideas than time allows. When all is said and done, it’s only a bit of fun.

    Best wishes,

    1. This is really cool. Just the sort of thing I come to HaD for, and so rarely see. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, then something like this comes along… and inspires.
      Nicely done.

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