Griode + Novation Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = a music instrument!
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Griode lets you play music using a LaunchPad or a similar controller.

For short demos and tutorials, check this YouTube playlist.

There is a basic (and incomplete) user manual that you may (or not) find helpful. The videos might be more useful for the time being ...

Quick start

Here are some quick instructions to get you started, assuming that you have a LaunchPad connected to an Debian/Ubuntu system.

git clone git://
cd griode
sudo apt-get install python3-pip python3-dev libasound2-dev libjack-dev fluidsynth
pip3 install --user -r requirements.txt
( cd soundfonts; ./; )

Your LaunchPad should light up with a red and white pattern, and pressing pads should make piano sounds.

Installing on a Raspberry Pi

If you want to setup Griode on a Raspberry Pi, you can use the instructions above, but make sure that you run them as the pi user.

You can use the "lite" (text only) or the "desktop" version, it doesn't matter for Griode.

If you want Griode to start automatically when the Pi is powered on, see this paragraph.

Detailed setup instructions

You need:

  • Python 3
  • FluidSynth (to generate sounds)
  • at least one SoundFont (instrument bank used by FluidSynth)
  • a LaunchPad or similar MIDI controller

Installing Python dependencies

On Debian/Ubuntu systems, you will need the following system packages, so that the python-rtmidi Python package can be installed correctly:

apt-get install python3-dev libasound2-dev libjack-dev

You can then install Griode's requirements with pip:

pip install --user -r requirements.txt

Of course, you are welcome to use virtualenv or anything like that if you want.

If you get compilation errors, you might need extra packages (libraries or headers).

Note: if you have problems related to the installation of python-rtmidi, you might be tempted to try to install rtmidi instead. DO NOT! The two packages are slightly incompatible; so after installing rtmidi, perhaps Griode will start, but you will get another bizarre error at a later point.

Installing FluidSynth

Fluidsynth is a software synthesizer. On Debian/Ubuntu systems, you can install it with:

apt-get install fluidsynth

Installing SoundFonts

Griode requires at least one "SoundFont" so that FluidSynth can make sounds. The easiest way to get started is to go to the soundfonts/ subdirectory, and run the script

Griode will load SoundFonts called ?.sf2 in alphabetical order. The script will create a symlink 0.sf2 pointing to the "GeneralUser GS" SoundFont, which contains the 128 instruments of the General MIDI standard, as well as a few variations, and a few drum kits.

You are welcome to download your own soundfonts, place them in the soundfonts/ subdirectory, and create symlinks to these files: they will be loaded when you start Griode.

What are soundfonts?

SoundFonts are instrument banks used by some audio hardware and by FluidSynth to generate notes of music. The typical extension for SoundFont files is .sf2.

There are many SoundFonts available out there. Some of them are tiny: the Sound Blaster AWE32 (a sound card from the mid-90s) had 512 KB of RAM to load SoundFonts, and there are SoundFonts of that size that offer the 100+ instruments of the General Midi standard! And some SoundFonts are huge: I saw some 1 GB SoundFonts out there with just a couple of piano instruments in them, but in very high quality (i.e. using different samples for each note and for different velocity levels.)

Here are a few links to some SF2 files:


Griode currently supports the Launchpad Pro, the Launchpad MK2 (aka "RGB"), and has partial support for the Launchpad S. You can plug multiple controllers and use them simultaneously.

Griode relies on the name of the MIDI port reported by the mido library to detect your Launchpad(s). This has been tested on Linux, but the port names might be different on macOS or Windows.


You can set the LOG_LEVEL environment variable to any valid logging level, e.g. DEBUG or INFO:



  • DEBUG level is (and will always be) very verbose.
  • You can put the log level in lowercase if you want.
  • The default log level is INFO.


Griode saves all persistent information to the state/ subdirectory. If you want to reset Griode (or some of its subsystems) to factory defaults, you can wipe out this directory (or some of the files therein).

Starting automatically on boot

If you are using a Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian distribution, and want to automatically start Griode on boot, you can use the provided systemd unit (griode.service).

After checking out the code in /home/pi/griode, and confirming that it runs correctly, just run:

sudo systemctl enable /home/pi/griode/griode.service
sudo systemctl start griode

Griode will start, and it will be automatically restarted when the Pi reboots.

If it doesn't start, or if you want to see what's going on:

sudo systemctl status griode
sudo journalctl -u griode


  • If you keep a note pressed while switching to another gridget, the note will continue to play. This is almost by design.
  • If you keep a note pressed while stopping recording, it might record a zero-length notes.
  • If a sync is triggered while notes are pressed, it might result in zero-length notes.