Automated music-playing devices such as the pianola can be dated back to the nineteenth century, and the tradition of playing music from a paper roll has been kept alive by Instructables user "h2osteam" with their Arduino-powered music player. The device works on the theory of the paper roll, that has the notes to play clearly marked within a grid formation, and the filled-in squares represent a note to be reproduced.
The roll is drawn through a simple device that consists of a row of LEDs and infra-red LEDs - when the light is blocked by the black square on the paper the Arduino can detect the change and play the required note, for example:
The project is genius due to the simplicity of the idea, and thanks to the creator you can make your own including a customised PCB for the music circuitry and the required Arduino sketch. To learn more and reproduce your own, check out the music player Instructable. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.