The problem I've been having is a little weird. I'm trying to set up audio for my Arduino project and have been playing around with the example included in the IDE. The problem is whenever I try to make the array of notes go into PROGMEM, it makes the outputted note higher than the one I put in. I don't want it to do that. In case it is relevant, the code I have is as follows:

    #define tuneSize 2
    // notes in the melody:
    const int melody[tuneSize] PROGMEM /*This is what's screwing it up*/= {
      NOTE_AS3, 0

    // note durations: 4 = quarter note, 8 = eighth note, etc.:
    int noteDurations[tuneSize] = {
      6, 16

    void setup() {
      // no need to repeat the melody.
      // iterate over the notes of the melody:
      for (int thisNote = 0; thisNote < tuneSize; thisNote++) {

        // to calculate the note duration, take one second
        // divided by the note type.
        //e.g. quarter note = 1000 / 4, eighth note = 1000/8, etc.
        int noteDuration = 1000 / noteDurations[thisNote];
        tone(8, melody[thisNote], noteDuration);

        // to distinguish the notes, set a minimum time between them.
        // the note's duration + 30% seems to work well:
        int pauseBetweenNotes = noteDuration * 1.30;
        // stop the tone playing:

(Pitch.h can be found in the Arduino example tab under digital)

My circuit has an 8 ohm resistor on pin 8. That's it.

The only thing I can think is that since the PROGMEM is slower, the data doesn't get to the speakers as fast thus making the output weird. Does anyone know how to fix this issue? Also, just having it on SRAM is not ideal because I'm working with a display and the lib it uses uses a lot of SRAM.

  • Also, when I put noteDurations in PROGMEM, it makes the note play forever.
    – Jo-Bob Bubba
    Mar 21, 2017 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


You can not directly dereference something ("access an array") that is in flash memory. You have to use pgm_read_xxx functions from <avr/pgmspace.h> .

In your case you should probably write something like this:

tone(8, pgm_read_word(&melody[thisNote]), noteDuration);

Pgm_read_word reads two bytes. You could also call that inside your tone() function, the function would take the pointer in flash as an argument.

I would also recommend you using integer types from <stdint.h>, because they have defined sizes. Pure int is most likely 32-bit on your PC, but 16-bit on the AVR (I have learned this the hard way when my algorithm ran fine on the PC but gave totally junk output on the AVR).

  • Thank you. I did not know about this and your answer has solved my problem.
    – Jo-Bob Bubba
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:47

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