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C Example - Keyboard Piano

Updated on April 9, 2012
C Language Tutorials
C Language Tutorials

To accomplish this task you don’t need to buy any expensive software or hardware, only a little knowledge of C program will do and you can build your own musical keyboard software. Before we begin you need to digest some basic concept and logic we are going to use in this program. If you are one of them who spent money to learn basic of computer or any programming language then you must have heard about ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) characters or codes. We are going to use ASCII codes here. This sounds a bit difficult but it is not so.

Logic is that every alphabets on our PC keyboard has some ASCII value like capital A has ASCII value 66, B is equal to 67 and so on. So we will use these values as a frequency range like original musical keyboard has.

The C inbuilt “sound()” function will do this task for us. This “sound()” function instead of using external speaker uses internal speaker located in CPU cabinet. This internal speaker makes beep sound when we boot our PC.

Keyboard Piano Program


void main()
char ch='y';
printf("Press X to exit......");
while(ch !='X')
ch = getch();


Line 1-3: Very first three lines of source code include header files, among three header files “dos.h” header file has vital function which will do our task.

Line-4: Forth line is “void main()” which is the main function of our program and program execution will begin from here.

Line-5: Fifth line is opening brace of main program.

Line-6: In sixth line a character variable has been declared and initialized with character ‘y’.

Line-7: Next line clears the any previous output from output screen.

Line-8: The eighth line prints a line informing user that if he needs to close this program then he/she should press Capital X.

Line-9: Next line is a while loop which keeps looping four lines in it until we press X.

Line-10: Beginning of while loop.

Line-11: In this line of code we store the ASCII value of key pressed by user during runtime. For example if user presses ‘p’ key on keyboard then its corresponding ASCII value, 113 gets store in ‘ch’ variable.

Line-12: The “sound()” will produce sound from pc speaker and in bracket we need to set frequency at which it will buzz. Here we are multiplying 10 with ASCII value available in ch variable. You can change the constant ‘10’ in this line to different integer value and as a result it will change the sound output. Do experiment only with this value.

Line-13: Here “delay()” function determines how long the sound will last (Note: actually “ delay()” function suspends the execution of program). This is determined by value provided in bracket. In our example I have set 75 milliseconds. If you change it to 3000 then sound will be played for 3 seconds.

Line-14: The “nosound()” function works opposite of “sound()” function. It turns off PC speaker. If we won’t use this in our program then speaker will keep buzzing until we close program.

Line-15: End of while loop.

Line-16: End of “main()” function.

You can download 100% working code from Here.



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    • profile image

      sidhu 2 years ago

      superb... i like it very much.. can u post more similar prgms. it might be useful for us !!

    • profile image

      Manu rajput from bijnor 3 years ago

      It is really awesome code I was inventing for this type of code.... I was very happy after knowing this...

    • profile image

      vinay tiwari 4 years ago

      yes...its very useful for me...

    • rajkishor09 profile image

      RAJKISHOR SAHU 5 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA

      I wrote my program using Turbo C on windows XP. You have check which compiler you are using and that compiler have all required header file.

    • profile image

      subhani 5 years ago

      would you plz tell me how to run in ubuntu (linux) in thisdos header file not working also i got errors like sound.c:(.text+0x1e): undefined reference to `getch' plz resole my problem

    • Java Programs profile image

      Java Programs 5 years ago from India

      Great hub in C programming language .... Nice explanation of the program in line by line way .... I like the approach ..... keep up the good work ....

    • profile image

      sree 6 years ago

      i will definetly try this keep it up friendz all the best...............

    • profile image

      Divyanshu Dhruw 6 years ago

      It's fabolous man it's incredible. . . i can't believe that this simple small c program can make a musical instrument

    • rajkishor09 profile image

      RAJKISHOR SAHU 6 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA

      @Unknown : if program complied successfully and didn't produce any sound then i doubt there is no internal speaker (which beeps when PC starts). I am not talking about external sound speaker you used with media player.

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      Preston Champion 6 years ago

      In 1876 a man by the name of Elisha Gray invented a musical instrument called the "musical telegraph" which was the precursor to all modern electronic musical keyboards. It was, essentially, the first electronic synthesizer, and it created sounds throught the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted these sounds over a telephone line.

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      shiva 6 years ago

      its great

    • profile image

      umanatarajan 6 years ago

      really its very gud material..u done a great job sir....

      keep it up..its very useful for us

    • profile image

      Ajanth 7 years ago

      Can someone teach me how to search for a file in a folder using find first() and find next() i wrote a program on my own but it finds only for the files inside the current directory. But its not searching in other drives or directories. Please help me if you know this stuff. Thanks in advance.

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      genuin 8 years ago

      not so bad... can u pls postsometing related to hacking..

    • profile image

      shreekrishna 8 years ago

      did you don't get any prototype errors in this ,

      next error return statement missing.

      your program i have not tested yet , but i always get this errors ,

      & i always fail how to solve this error.

      & program is not working on vista.

    • sophieqd profile image

      sophieqd 8 years ago

      Turn Your PC Keyboard to Musical Keyboard

      Great info I really will think about this. Thanks for sharing.

    • rajkishor09 profile image

      RAJKISHOR SAHU 8 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA

      First of all thanks for appreciation anjalichugh. Actually I want instigate new C programmer psyche that they can do much more thing than doing regular programming. I think this kind of example encourages and spice up their learning process.

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      Although it sounded like 'Greek' to me, yet I spent some time in learning these tips. It seemed so interesting. Great work...and welcome to Hub Pages.