Using the Sound Clippys board

A Paper Piano

For starters here’s an example interface. A paper piano with a distance sensor to control an audio effect. The “tuning” of the piano can be changed to plugging into different ports on the board or by making changes to the program in Pd.


The Sound Clippys board has two different kinds of inputs, digital and analog.

Digital Inputs

Sound Clippys board detail – Digital pins on top, Analog pins on the bottom for variable resistors and other analog sensors

There are 12 digital inputs which can have two states – high or low, 1 or 0, connected, or not connected, are different ways to think about it. They use something called a pull-up resistor to make the pin normally HIGH (5 Volts to be exact) and when they are connected to the GND clip (for ground) with a wire or something that conducts electricity they are read as LOW (or 0 Volts).

The 12 digital pins are are lined up along one edge of the Sound Clippys board, staggered a bit to look like a piano.

Connecting to the board

Open Pd and open the patch digital-diatonic.pd which is part of the modular-muse library installation be here:


From here the [mm] object will be used to identify and connect to the hardware.

1. Before connecting your Arduino, click on “list” – now go to the Pd window. It should have a list of serial ports.  Now connect the board and click the “list” button again. There should be  a port in the list, this is the Arduino. Note which number port it is in the list.

2. Click in the number box and type that number and hit Enter

3. Click Open

If it all worked your are not connected to your board and if you make a connection between any of the Digital pins and Ground you should be able to play the instrument in digital-diatonic.pd.

Making Buttons and Switches

You can play this instrument by clipping an alligator clip to GND and then touching the other end to the digital inputs on the board.



Using conductive material

There are lots of conductive materials available these days which are great to use with this board. Here’s a short list:

Copper tape

Conductive Ink

Conductive Thread


Here are some examples:

Using conductive paint/ink:

IMG_1272 simone-love brit-tree


Tweet Tree:

Using copper tape with paper and wood:


wood-playing wood-side wood

So there are a few ways to using the Sound Clippys digital inputs. Please share yours!

Analog Inputs


Connect potentiometers or other analog sensors to the headers. These are sensors which should have 3 pins: (1) 5V, (2) signal and (3) ground. Above a small knob potentiometer is plugged in.  Here is a distance sensor:

Distance Sensor plugged into Sound Clippys analog input

The bottom row of alligator clips are for connecting variable resistors. These can be photocells (change resistance depending on light), force sensitive resistors (change resistance depending on pressure), bend sensor (change resistance depending on amount of bend), etc.

Here is and example with a photocell (light sensor):




One thought on “Using the Sound Clippys board”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *