The Shep Sequencer

The Shep Sequencer is a repurposed wooden animal toy that I hacked into a musical step sequencer. The basic drive was to create an instrument with a considerable amount of sillyness that is also musically programmable – enjoyable for both little and big kids alike.

The electronics are handled by Arduino and the audio engine is Pure Data. Drum sounds are a mashup of the classic Linndrum + some lovely animal samples.

It features 32 discreet push buttons and an LED for each to indicate triggering. The unit is designed to operate as a straightforward editable MIDI interface – to trigger anything you wish – or as a standalone programmable animal sound sequencer as shown in the video above.

The Shep Sequencer was produced at Queen Mary University of London, October 2012 as part of my research on the MAT programme.

shep proto-board
Proto-stage circuit board.

For the circuitry (see proto-stage board above) I used 75HC595 shift registers running in series to flash the LEDs and 4067 multiplexers running in parallel to catch the button presses. A spot of hardware debouncing was performed with 60microfarad capacitors across the button terminals.

Shep Sequencer
Shep Sequencer


This work was produced as research under the EPSRC-funded MAT programme.