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INTRODUCTION

I play the Yamaha WX-5 Wind Controller since early 2002 after playing saxophones for about 25 years. I had seen the instrument (or older models like the WX-7, WX-11 and Akai EWI) occasionally on Dutch television being played by several professional musicians. Over the years I had picked up clarinet and flute to expand my musical sounds, but being an experienced saxophone player I did not have the patience to start all over again and put in the time needed to get the same skills on these new instruments.

A wind controller can be played technically well with a saxophone background. The fingering and way of playing are very similar. But even if you do not play an acoustic wind instrument, it is fairly easy to learn. Easier than the original acoustic instrument.
You might think; Why is a wind controller better than any other synthesizer that I can play through a normal keyboard? The answer is simple. A wind controller adds a natural expression to the synthesizer by using a breath controller. The amount of air blown into the wind controller determines the volume. Not only at the attack of the note, but also during the time the tone sounds. This enables you to play cresendo's, decresendo's, fortsando's, etc. In the whole synthesizer world there is no controller, other than any wind controller, able to give so much expression to electronic music. That is why it is now possible to emulate real wind instruments, as well as stringed instruments, through MIDI.

Owning and playing a wind controller alone is not enough. It is neccesary to use a sound module to generate the sound. Of course, it is important that the sound module responds to breath control. But next to that, when you start emulating real acoustic instruments, you need to know what makes them sound the way they do. Each instrument has its own characteristics. For instance, when playing the sound of a bowed instrument through the wind controller mouthpiece with a reed, it takes practice to make it sound like it is really bowed. The use of (lip) vibrato on the controller while playing a piano sound or playing bass notes on a picollo sound, does not make sense either. Lots of pratice and listening to the original sounds makes a wind controller the perfect instrument to play thousands of other instruments by using the same basic technical skills. And, creating your own sounds through a digital or analogue synthesizer opens up a whole new world of never invented expressive musical instruments. The sky and your own imagination and creativity are the limit.