The latest micro:bit has a built-in speaker, but you can also output sound to a pair of headphones or an external speaker by sending a signal on Pin0. 

Common ways to do this are by using a set of analogue headphones with a jack plug on the end or using an inexpensive piezo speaker



micro:bit connected to headphone jackmicro:bit connected to piezo speaker

Headphones/Audio jack

Connect Pin0 to the tip and GND to the sleeve of the jack. If you have four rings on the headphones, choose the top and bottom rings.

Piezo speaker

Connect Pin0 to the red lead and GND to the black lead of the speaker.

There are lots of fun and interesting ways to connect up the headphones or speaker. If you have tried another method, let us know so we can share it in this article

This example by @kgiori shows the headphone jack inserted through the GND ring so that the sleeve of the jack is touching GND. A bent paperclip connects the tip of the jack to Pin0.

This example from Daisy shows tin foil and tape being used to connect the pins to the headphone jack:



Place a start melody block from the Music menu underneath the on start block to play a melody when the micro:bit is powered on or reset.





Import the music module and then use music.play() to play a melody when the micro:bit is powered on or reset.

import music


It is also possible to play audio from sound files available to the micro:bit. Add the files attached to this article to the Python Editor filesystem. Copy this program into the editor then flash this program to the micro:bit.

import audio

# read the files from the microbit filesystem
def read_frame(f_list, frame):
for file in f_list:
ln = file.readinto(frame)
while ln:
yield frame
ln = file.readinto(frame)

# craete a function to open and play each file in turn
def play_file(f):
with open(f + "-01.raw", "rb") as file1, \
open(f + "-02.raw", "rb") as file2, \
open(f + "-03.raw", "rb") as file3, \
open(f + "-04.raw", "rb") as file4:
f_list = [file1, file2, file3, file4]
audio.play(read_frame(f_list, frame), wait=True)

# Allocate memory outside the interrupt
frame = audio.AudioFrame()
ln = -1
file = 1

# play the files

Thanks to fizban for the example.


Micropython also contains a speech synthesiser to enable the micro:bit to talk and sing.

This program uses speech.say() and speech.pronounce() with some parameters as an example of what we can do with the speech module. Copy this program into the editor and then Download/Flash this program to the micro:bit:

from microbit import *
import speech

while True:
speech.say('I am a BBC microbit`)
speech.pronounce('BIHDDIY BIHDDIY BIHDDIY BIHDDIY', speed=60, pitch=255)

You might want to use a powered speaker for this as the speech module is quiet.

How the micro:bit produces sound via PWM

The micro:bit uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) as a way to simulate an analogue output on a digital pin. It sends a series of high speed on/off electronic pulses to a speaker which can convert this to physical vibrations to create sound waves. 

The variation in the length of the on pulse, the Duty Cycle creates an average voltage output. A 50% duty cycle (often called a square wave) sets an equal time for pulse on and off.

To convey the frequency of sound(Hz) that the digital signal is trying to reproduce we vary the time between the signal voltage being high or low.

To do this,  the period(ms) of the note needs to be found, which is the amount of time it takes for the wave to cycle once. This is done by taking the inverse of the frequency of the note:


For example, The note A4 maps to 440hz so using our calculation:

1/440 = 2.727

Once we have the value of the period, to represent the pitch in PWM, we just hold the signal high for half the length of the period (1.13636ms), and low for the other half(1.13636ms)

The Analogue Pitch block in MakeCode lets us set this frequency for PWM on the desired pin.