Modular-Muse is hardware and software for making music with interactive technologies.

Make new instruments

Interactive technologies and computation open up new possibilities for interacting with sound, creating algorithmic music, and building new interfaces for musical expression.


Music Bots

Create and control musical automated musical instruments (aka Music Bots). Use your favorite off the shelf music software or for the hardware hackers, write your own software to control them. The Music Bots Motor Driver boards  work with Solenoids, vibration motors, DC motors and more to create sound and motion.

Digital Music Instruments

The Sound Clippys Platform is a hardware and software toolkit for making digital music instruments using sound design techniques and simple circuits to create custom interfaces.  The platform is based on the Arduino microcontroller and Pure Data (Pd) audio programming environment.

an instrument created with Modular-Muse

The software library for Pd-extended includes objects for sound synthesis, parameter control, audio effects, and to route data from an Arduino to trigger and control sound.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 3.22.44 PM
Modular-Muse software library objects

The Sound Clippys Hardware Board uses alligator clips and some basic on-board circuits making it easy to build physical controllers that can shape and control sound.

Sound Clippys hardware board




15 thoughts on “”

  1. Trying to make something like the gamelatron for sound baths. Already have the tray of 9 gamelon gongs. Any suggestions for parts, supplies. and design ideas?

    1. Sorry for the slow reply – the holidays are always busy!

      It sounds like you need to drive 9 motors? It depends on your experience and how ambitous you are. I have a new x10 channel board I have been working on that I can sell to you – or you can order a 16 channel board and solder it up – and connect it to a Teensy or other microcontroller.

      Then you need the motors – I am a big fan of these car door motors because they are inexpensive for a powerful 12V solenoid – however they are a little noisy (they have a moving gear inside them that makes a very mechanical noise) but depending on what you are striking with them you may never notice.

  2. Hi,

    Great to see this site. I’ve always wanted to make an automated musical instrument. A few years ago I bought some solenoids and interfaced one to an 8051 microcontroller to strike a glockenspiel plate at different speeds. I find the mechanics the tricky part – adjusting the angle and separation to get a pleasant sound, as well as minimising the sound of the solenoid as it moves.

    I’m writing firmware for a home-made handheld calculator at the moment but am looking forward to getting back to automated musical instruments soon.


    1. very cool!

      yes, minimizing the solenoid sound is tricky. Sometimes you can add something soft in between the plunger and the metal it usually strikes. It of course depends on the style being used.

      Usually I find the sound of the solenoid striking something is much louder than the sound of the solenoid itself, making it less of an issue. That said, I appreciate any effort to improve the fidelity of actuated instruments

  3. Good day,
    I want to order Order 16 channel MMMD Components (from Sparkfun)
    But the TLC 5940-PWM Driver is retired (COM-10136 RoHS)
    Wich other Driver can i use?
    Thanks a lot for reply.
    Kind regards
    D. Krieger

    1. You can get the DIP version of this part still at other outlets. If you do a search for TLC5940 you’ll see several options. I’ve had good luck with ebay but YMMV.

      If you do end up building up a 16 channel board report back how it goes for you and what you make!

  4. Hi there, I purchased the 5 channel motor board and teensy lc. I have been able to control some dc motors with midi using the code provided. I was wondering if there is anything I can add to the code to make it so a can control which midi channel the teensy is receiving. I am sending midi from an octatrack but I only want the teensy to receive channel 16. So far it’s receiving midi from channels 1-16

    1. Yes, in the onNoteOn function you can use the channel variable to see what channel the message was sent too. Just add an if statement to only turn on the outputs if the channel matches. I hope it helps.

  5. Hi,
    I’m very interested in commissioning a custom build.
    Please feel free to reach me at the enclosed email address.


  6. Hi there,

    Firstly I just want to say thanks and well done for such a great side and great ideas. I’ve been looking for a project to complete with my nephew, I have a background in electronic music and he has a growing interest in electronics so this site is perfect.

    I’ve ordered the Sixteen Channel MOSFET Driver Board from OSH park (I want plenty of room for expansion!) but I have a few questions you may be able to help with, I am confident with soldering but quite new to coding/teensy etc.

    – Does the pcb board come with a schematic/instructions? if not where can I find this?

    – with the sixteen channel board can you have a mixture of different types of motors? I noticed that the arduino sketches are different for each type of motor but one of your demo videos seemed to show solenoids and dc motors running from the same board.

    – Do you have any info on the midi implementation? for instance midi note numbers for each channel on the board?

    – are the arduino sketches the same for the 16 channel board as for the 4 and 5 channel? I couldn’t see any mention of the 16 channel board when I looked at the code.

    – finally the tlc5940 chip. Are there different types of this chip? what info should I be looking out for on a datasheet to identify the correct type?

    Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated and apologies if my questions seem dumb!

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!!!

    1. I just added the code for the x16 channel board here:

      This version only pulses the signals on. In order to sustain notes (leave a motor on) the code needs modification.

      The eagle schematic is available here:

      You can change the start note. It is currently sent to MIDI note 0 for channel 0, with each successive note turning on the next channel. The TLC5940 has no direct replacement that I’m aware of. If you find the DIP package of this part it should be fine.

      All the motors are driven by one of the 2 power supplies plugged into this board so all the motors on a given side will need to work off the same voltage.

      I hope it helps!

  7. Hi!
    I could not find a direct contact so I write here.
    Thank you so much for not only for sharing the work you do but for being so open about the ways.
    I’ve been willing for a while to add something similar to automated strikers to my live act. to a travel conga, picturing it better. and I would like to ask few questions if you don’t mind.
    the ones you have build can be trigged easily by a hardware step sequence? how would you do it?
    Also, I am into learning how to build things, but since you do such beautiful work it brings the interest in collaborating or exchange somehow.

    warm regards from brasil!

    1. Hi, I’d love to see some automated strikers in your live act!
      That would depend on what the hardware step sequencer output is. Does it have a 5 pin MIDI port? It would be possible to drive the motor drives with this but not as is. This would require some changes to the code and adding a MIDI port as an input instead of using the MIDI over USB. You might look at the product from DaDA Machines:
      and also this kit available on Tindie:

      As for building some robotic strikers I’d be open to it. Contact me at jifferh [at] gmail with details of what you’re looking to do.


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hardware and software for creative music