Music Keyboard for TamTam?

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at
Mon Nov 17 01:40:48 EST 2008

Hi Gary,

I'm glad others are interested in this possible extension of the use of the XO.  I got the idea when I saw the OLPCMEXICO guide to TamTamMini.  They show the correspondence of the XO keys with a standard keyboard. You don't need to know Spanish to understand what they are showing.  You can download their guide here:

Greg Smith was the speaker at our Support-Gang conference call meeting today.  He indicated that we can submit ideas for additions to the next release, 9.1.0, to come out in March.  I was going to submit the keyboard input fix in his Roadmap section:

Would you like to join me as "co-champions" of the idea?  You can submit it and include me, or I can do it and include you, whichever you prefer.  We can each go over the proposal and edit collaboratively (OLPC style!).

I think the educational value is great.  Children can be learning a standard keyboard as they play with the TamTam suite and it will transfer to other instruments they may want to try later in life...not just piano and organ, but mallet instruments like marimba as well.

Do you have any idea how well in tune the XO is?  If you play an A is it 440? If it is in tune, it can also help children develop an excellent sense of pitch that will help them all their lives (a survey of adults with perfect pitch showed they all began playing an instrument by the age of Master's Thesis many years ago!).

Let's see where we can take would be great to find a source of inexpensive usb keyboards too.  They don't have to do anything fancy, just work for input.

Caryl  OLPC Support Volunteer

> CC: cbigenho at; caryl at
> From: gary at
> To: devel at
> Subject: Re: Music Keyboard for TamTam?
> Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 04:24:54 +0000
> On 17 Nov 2008, at 04:06, Gary C Martin wrote:
> >> I was wondering if there would be a way to connect a usb musical
> >> keyboard to the XO to use with the TamTam suite of Activities?
> >>
> >> The software would have to be able to recognize the input from the
> >> keyboard.  A small 37-key midi keyboard by M-Audio costs about $50.
> >> <>.  It supposedly
> >> works with any computer with a usb connection, but I suspect they
> >> mean any Mac or Windows based machine.
> >>
> >> The programs in the TamTam suite are really powerful, and could
> >> appeal to older children and adults if the keyboard input was more
> >> suited to their larger hands.
> >>
> >> Any ideas?
> >
> > Ooh I've been meaning to test this for a while – so I've just plugged
> > my M-Audio 49-e into the XO (release 8.2-767), and tried each of the
> > TamTam suite... Unfortunately it seems to have no effect :-(
> >
> > This was only a very quick attempt, I'll try a deeper look and see if
> > anything obvious is borked, will likely poke about with csound in the
> > raw and see what I can pick-up:
> >
> >
> >
> > I'm guessing this may well work, or at least used to, as I found this
> > flicker shot of Simon and Walter testing an early board prototype :-)
> >
> >
> >
> > Anyone else tried, or can point me in the right direction (is there
> > some /dev I should look for)?
> OK, replying to my own email (well it is late here) – I can at least  
> see the midi keyboard is being recognised using the terminal amidi  
> command:
> amidi -l
> Dir   Device    Name
> IO    hw:1,0,0   Ketstation 49e MIDI 1
> On a more disappointing note I found this ticket "G1G1 tamtam suite  
> should respond to MIDI keyboard input" from 10 months ago. Closed.  
> Wont fix :-(
> --Gary
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