Tag Archives: Dubstep

Making my MaKeyMakey Beat Maker

When I first heard about the ‘MaKeyMaKey‘, I knew I’d have to get one, so when it finally arrived in January 2013, I was elated!! I went through several bananas, tested most things in the house for conductivity (including cats and dogs), and then thought about making a cheap ‘beat pad’. Here’s a short explanation of how I did that.

First, it’s probably worth visiting the MaKeyMaKey.com site for a quick rundown on how it works, but I’ll attempt cover it in one sentence here: it’s a device that replicates ‘key-presses’ on a keyboard, but you can connect each ‘key’ to a ‘thing’. So you could type an ‘A’ onto the screen by e.g. touching a banana. Pretty cool. Check out the official site here:


To make this work for a ‘beat pad’, I had to find software that allows a sound to be played, when I press a particular key on the keyboard. Although there are many music/studio applications that would allow you to do this, I wanted something really lightweight, simple to use, and cheap/free. I found that Soundplant was simple enough to cope with the task at hand.

I searched the web for free drum sounds and samples, and found a range of sites offering free sample packs. I download a few, and started to assign these samples to the keys I needed to trigger sounds.

Now I needed to gather all the parts to make the actual beat pad.. The list:

A MaKeyMakey
A laptop
Aluminium Foil
Sellotape/Insulator Tape
A Shoebox
Some wire
Software used: Soundplant

I started by cutting strips of foil, then folding them into squares, leaving a little bit sticking out, so I could attach a wire clip to it. I attached these foil squares to the lid of an old shoebox, and gave the device a quick test. Here’s a little video of the device, going through its first proof of concept test:

I completed the top of the box with 12 pads, and connected each of these to an output on the MaKeyMaKey, using the crocodile clips provided. I used a lot of insulator tape to make sure that everything stayed in place, and also to make the device look a little neater! I had finished creating my MaKeyMaKey beat pad, and was ready to plug the MaKeyMaKey into my laptop via USB.

The next job was to prepare the samples I wanted to use, so I used the Soundplant app to do this. Once I had found all the samples, I saved the configuration file, and began to plan a demonstration video. Here’s the first take of playing a beat using my new MaKeyMaKey Beatpad:

And here’s a video of me playing a beat to some spoken word, a reading by Seth Godin, of his book ‘The Icarus Deception’, which is also a great book – a recommended read.

Big thanks goes out to @ericrosenbizzle and @wakeupsilver for inventing the #MaKeyMaKey and @ThisIsSethsBlog for the #Kickstarter Project that allowed me to get ‘The Icarus Deception’ on vinyl (I’m old skool!). Also gotta say thanks to @YogaShirley for putting up with the annoying samples playing over and over again while I created my masterpiece!

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I do! Play, Share, and let me know what you think!


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Salesforce tips and tricks

A one stop shop for Salesforce tips and tricks


Polyglot developer in the cloud

Tquila Team

Live Social, Work Social


Got my toes in the water, Head in the CLOUD

Custom Flight Cases

Specialists In Providing The Best Flight Case Protection!

Automation Champion

Automating Salesforce One Click at a Time

30 days of yoga... 1 day at a time

addicted to self improvement

Wrestling Yoga

Trials and Triumphs of Bikram Yoga

GoToAssist Blog

Manage the work, not the software.


Fresh hacks every day

it's only the beginning...

dabblings in the ever growing fields of public and digital history

Carol Code and Vogue

A little bit of everything and some code

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Matryoshka Dolls

Web Dev: Tips & Tricks From Learning On The Job

SutoCom Solutions

Success & Satisfaction with the Cloud

Tquila Team

Live Social, Work Social

%d bloggers like this: