A Christmas Lightshow controller was bought in an after season sale. This provided an already built safe enclosure for 6 AC power outlets along with opto-isolator/triac circuits for turning the AC outlets on and off from 6 simple 0 to 5 volt control signals.
The Lightshow Controller was retrofitted with a PIC16C84 microcontroller and a MIDI Input circuit. The PIC is programmed to detect MIDI Note On commands for 8 specified key numbers from the MIDI Input stream and translate those key off and key on commands to 8 control output lines.
The PIC16C84 does not have a serial port. The serial Midi Input data is gathered from a single PIC input line a bit at a time with the serial timing accomplished by carefully counting processor cycle times in the program. A MIDI parsing routine pulls from the MIDI Input stream only those KEY ON commands that we are interested in.
Alternatively, you could use an Arduino Uno board and program it with the available MIDI Library and the Midi Callback program listed below. Use the same MIDI circuit shown below, but connect it to Digital Input Pin 0 (RX) of the Arduino Board.