Sending MIDI commands from Sylphyo buttons

  • First of all I'm looking forward to receiving my Sylphyo instrument which I bought this weekend (from
    I am a trumpet player oroginally (and still) and have experimented with an EWI about 20 years ago, last time I tried to play that again recently it had stopped working, and as I was never really satisfied with the airflow of that instrument (the inordinate amount of airflow resistance) I am very excited about your instrument. And so looking very much forward to receiving the instrument.

    I have some technical questions though, I am very much into electronica these days and use Ableton Live for my music - so I am a very tech-oriented type of guy and have even started to build my own Wind instrument to my own specs (which sadly sits collecting dust on a shelf)

    Will it be possible to assign buttons on the Sylphyo to midi commands for instance a specific midi-note or cc-value - I am considering setting up some MIDI filtering in ableton and would love to be able to step thru my filtersettings using a dedicated button.

    I am of the opinion that the easier it is to get notes right - the more musicians can concentrate on expressing emotion - I love the philosophy behind for instance AutoTheory by Mozaic which tries to take some of the difficulty out of playing, and have used that in live performance of ambient music (playing keyboards) - and i am considering combining that with the Sylphyo, but would love some meta-button functionality (buttons which do not create notes in themselves but just sends predefined midi-information)

  • Didn't know about AutoTheory, I'll look at that!

    If I understand correctly, you'd like to have some easy way to send a specific MIDI note, CC, or message from your Sylphyo that your DAW will interpret in a specific fashion; e.g., to change chord generation from major to minor.

    We're planning to include some ways to send arbitrary MIDI notes or CCs in future updates of the Sylphyo internal software, but we're currently evaluating different options (e.g., tapping the Aodyo key, or slapping the side of the Sylphyo) and their tradeoffs.

    As of now, you could use any of the CCs sent by the slider and try to discriminate based on the CC value in your DAW (for instance, using Max4Live).
    Another technique that is commonly used with some virtual instruments played on the keyboard is to dedicate a number of notes (usually the lowest ones) to this kind of meta-button functionality. This could work if you don't use the entire note range anyway.

  • Cool.
    Thanks for the quick answer.
    Great that you are considering different approaches to this :-) maybe I can chip in when I have had the experience of actually playing around with the Sylphyo.

    The option of dedicating some standard notes to this has occurred to me, especially if the octave buttons are of the limitless type (which I tunderstand they are not) Ideally for me the octave button should Work like this one press on the Down octave button transposes the instrument one octave down, one more press on the down-octave button would transpose the instrument one more octave down...
    But from what I have read I have to keep the octave down button pressed to stay in the one-octave-down transpose mode (the instrument is following more traditional instrument fingering techniques - rather than new and different techniques ;-) and if that is the case and I am "limited" to about three octaves using the octave buttons (disregarding all the fingering options) I am not sure I would spare the notes for this :-)

  • Your feedback will always be welcome!

    In fact, you are "limited" to five octaves, not three, because the two settings keys below the three octave keys can also be used to go to lower octaves.

    That said, a relative or modal octave selection technique like what you propose is on the roadmap, however we'll have to determine how to design it without slowing down the performance (people should be able to play at a virtuoso level with it).
    But we're also trying to find other options to increase the absolute octave selection range from five to maybe seven or nine, which would be more interesting than "limitless octave selection" in my opinion.

  • @join
    Well you seem to have my "complaints" well in hand ;-)
    And I totally agree with your priorities.
    Also my "Limitless" is as you said not really what I want. 7 or 9 octaves will be plenty for me also (and we are limited by the approx. 10½ octave range of the MIDI spec already)
    Its just that I experienced Michael Brecker on the EWI back in the 90's at Copenhagen Jazzfestival - I don't remember the track he played but I remember that he used an exorbitant range of octaves from groundshaking deep tones to highpitched whistles - and it was one of the greatest concert experiences I've ever had! I seem to remember the EWI had a 7 or 8 octave range with the rollers.

  • I had somehow the same idea of sending MIDI CC from Sylphyo buttons.

    I am playing the Trombone from samplemodeling. This virtual instruments allows changing of different kinds of mutes via a specific CC. Different values would activate different mutes.

    This is the solution I found:
    I am hosting samplemodeling's SWAM engine with the trombone inside Cantabile Software. Cantabile allows me to implement MIDI filters which would transfer certain notes into MIDI CC with specific parameters. So I configured the lowest notes to generate those MIDI CC and am now able to change mutes simply by playing one of the lowest notes.

    This works well with one disadvantage: If you use the transpose function of Sylphyo, the controlling notes are also transposed. So, I ended up with configuring two sets of instruments inside Cantabile: one set with C tuning and one set with Bb tuning. This concept now works fine for me.

  • Hi Christian

    that's neat.
    Maybe to overcome the disadvantage of transposing on the Sylphyo one could use a transpose midifilter in Cantabile instead (I am planning something similar using both Cantabile and a neat midi plugin called Cales from CodeFN42 which can filter incoming notes to any scale)

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