I'm referring to the segment from 5:00 to 5:25 of this video:

if you look at the keyboard player, he's clearly blowing into that black wire/pipe, while he's playing the keyboard:

  • what's the name of that thing he's blowing into?

  • he's modulating intensity, some tremolo maybe, etc, by blowing into that pipe, right?

  • is that some digital effect one can use with, say, a guitar?

thx .k.

1 Answer 1


That’s a MIDI breath controller. It lets him articulate the woodwind sound he’s playing on the keyboard in the same way an actual woodwind player would.

It should work with any MIDI controllable synthesizer, software, or effect processor, although many setups will require some kind of interface between the breath controller and the device to be controlled.

You couldn’t directly control an electric guitar signal with it, but you could use it to control a MIDI capable guitar effect or guitar synth.

He’s definitely about to modulate the volume and the attack of the notes with the breath controller. He might be also able to modulate tremolo and/or vibrato, or he could be using another controller with his hands, like a mod wheel, to do that.

  • 1
    I believe the breath controller was pioneered by Yamaha, from the early days of MIDI in the eighties. And it wasn't exclusively for MIDI synths; check out the CS01, a small battery-operated analog synth that came with a breath controller. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:52

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