High Level Design

Program/Hardware Design



Appendix A: Code

Appendix B: Schematics

Appendix C: Parts Listing 

Appendix D: Specific Tasks




Xuemin Hang:

Marcel Xu:






“A synthesizer that produces sounds of different musical instruments when notes are played on a music keyboard(which we created), accompanied by an interactive TV display that also provides educational tools for learning music theory.”



Summary of our Project

We built a music synthesizer that produces the distinctive sounds of several instruments when the music keyboard is played. Our synthesizer also allows the playing of chords. The single music notes or chords played are simultaneously displayed on a music stave on TV. In addition, the interactive TV also provides two educational video games that test the music player’s ability to sight-read music notes on the stave.


Rationale and Sources of our Project Idea

We decided to build a music synthesizer with a music keyboard interface because we are both piano players who grew up playing music but who could not afford to buy our own Yamaha keyboard after we came to Cornell. Cheap and cheesy electronic toy pianos that we find on the market can only produce hollow tones (characteristic of square waves) and cannot sustain the sound when a note is held. Worse still, they cannot play more than one note at a time! Therefore, we decided that the synthesizer we build for this project must, at the very least, provide sounds of different musical instrument, sustain the sound if the note is held, and play chords as well.

In addition, we designed and implemented the two TV games such that they also fulfill an educational purpose : To facilitate the learning of music theory and sight-reading and make it enjoyable, fun and exciting at the same time. This is important because when we learned music theory as a kid, memorizing the notes and staves were menial tasks that we found to be both difficult and boring.