The Yamaha WX5

At My Breath My Music we use electronic wind instruments. These instruments play very light and require very little lung capacity. Thanks to the wonderful electronics incorporated you can have a full sound with minimal effort! If you have enough breath to speak you can play one of our instruments.

We have discovered that the Yamaha WX5 can be easily adjusted for single-handed playing. This is most important, as it means that severely handicapped people can play this instrument. Our biggest group of young players suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).


The Yamaha WX5 is a monophonic MIDI wind controller with fingering similar to a flute, clarinet or saxophone. Like a keyboard controller, wind controllers send MIDI note information electronically to an external sound module or tone generator which in turn synthesizes a tremendous variety of musical tones. Unlike a keyboard controller which is usually polyphonic, a wind controller is monophonic, or a single note instrument. The only limits to the kinds of sounds available are the limitations of the external module/tone generator, not the WX5 itself. A WX5 performer can sound like any melodic instrument: wind, string, percussion, keyboard, or purely electronic, including special sound effects. In addition, a mix of instruments can be programmed.

The WX5 simulates a wind instrument because of the way it is played, the key layout, and because it responds to breath (wind) pressure as well as lip pressure on a simulated reed mouthpiece similar to that of a saxophone or clarinet. The wind and lip pressure information is converted to MIDI data which is interpreted by the external sound module. Usually the wind pressure is interpreted as loudness and lip pressure as pitch bend; thus, the instrument responds much like an acoustic wind instrument and as a result extremely realistic musical phrasing is available to the player. It has a 16-key layout similar to a standard saxophone. It also includes a built-in MIDI output connector, a dedicated connector and cable for direct connections to Yamaha WX-Series tone generators, a high-resolution wind sensor and a thumb-controlled pitch bend wheel. Yamaha recommends that the WX5 should be used with the Yamaha VL70m Virtual Acoustic Tone Generator.

The Yamaha WX5 is still available but unfortunately not in Europe. Our non profit organization has a large number of these beautiful instruments. In the Netherlands, children in our project with a muscular disease have an instrument on loan at home. A number of rehabilitation centers in the Netherlands and in Europe have bought a WX5 with the help of our non profit organization. Want to know more? Email us at


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