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Synthesize music with animations on a Raspberry Pi Pico

Learn how to create a real time MIDI synthesizer with spectrum visualization and no RTOS using a Raspberry Pi Pico

The Raspberry Pi Pico is an extremely popular and capable MCU (microcontroller) development platform that is based on Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 MCU and costs only $4. The RP2040 incorporates two 133 MHz Arm’s Cortex-M0+ CPU cores, 264 kB of SRAM and a unique programmable I/O system.

This guide will walk through the integration of several software components to create a MIDI player with spectrum visualization and animations. I will explore how we can create a complex software, with real-time audio synthesis, visualization and dual-core without using an RTOS.

The audio will be generated using the PWM audio driver from the pico-extras and the LCD will be controlled with the LCD driver from the PIO pico-examples (modified for the demo).

The software components will be integrated using the CMSIS-Stream open source library.

MIDI components come from the Playtune Synth project by Len Shustek and have been modified a lot to be integrated in this demo.

The demo uses the two M0+ cores.”

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