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I have MIDI keyboard (MIDI interface, not MIDI through USB) and want to make it to control 12 colored lights (LEDs probably as incandescent bulbs may not be fast enough to follow the music), one per musical halftone. The LED should light when the key is pressed down and go off when the key is released up.

One of the approach would be connecting the musical keyboard to PC through adapter, write some software and add USB to relays controller to control the lights. This adds the complexity of the whole personal computer (ok, maybe laptop) involved. I would strongly prefer to have the independent device instead.

Is it possible to build such a controller without building and using a PC?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Any MCU with a UART should work. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 26 '16 at 7:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The MIDI specification is free. You have to receive the note-on/-off messages over an UART, and handle them appropriately. \$\endgroup\$ – CL. Oct 26 '16 at 7:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely yes. Be aware that the PHY of midi is not exactly trivial, I bet there are dedicated asics on the market to take care of that. After you convert the signal to std logic levels, virtually any microcontroller has an UART included. And you need the relays of course! \$\endgroup\$ – Vladimir Cravero Oct 26 '16 at 7:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VladimirCravero The PHY is a simple line receiver for a current loop. See Use a PC123 optocoupler for MIDI input or MIDI IN : many circuits. \$\endgroup\$ – CL. Oct 26 '16 at 7:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @h22 MCU is MicroController Unit. But if you didn't know that, you may have a few things to learn before succesfully designing this. That may take some time... \$\endgroup\$ – dim Oct 26 '16 at 7:41

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