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The MIDI Shield board gives your Arduino access to the widely used MIDI communication protocol, so you can control synthesizers, sequencers, and other musical devices. The MIDI protocol shares many similarities with standard asynchronous serial interfaces, so you can use the UART pins of your Arduino to send and receive MIDI event messages.
The MIDI Shield provides an opto-isolated MIDI-IN port as well as a MIDI-OUT port. The MIDI Shield can be mounted directly on top of an Arduino (once you install headers), connecting the MIDI-IN to the Arduino's hardware RX pin and the MIDI-OUT to TX. Potentiometers are connected to analog pins 1 and 2, and can be used to control pitch bending, vibrato, or anything else you'd like. Also connected on the shield are three momentary push buttons (connected to D2-4), a reset button, and green and red status LEDs. The RUN/PROG switch allows you to program the Arduino over serial without having to remove the shield.
The MIDI Shield comes only partially assembled, as shown. The through-hole MIDI connectors, buttons and trimpots will have to be soldered on.
Note: When using this shield with an Arduino Pro, you will have to bypass the TX/RX resistors on the Pro to get enough current to the shield.