Setups      -        The Magic Flute

Which equipment to use with the Magic Flute         HOME

A keyboard, sound module, sampler, synthesizer, MIDI organ, a software synthesizer or sampler on a computer - it can all be used as a sound source for the Magic Flute. As long as it has got a MIDI input, you're in business.

This is a selection of gear that I use with the Magic Flute ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The simplest solution: use the Internal sound card that is fitted in the Control Module.

There is an internal sound in the Control Module. With this set up you only need a set of small computer speakers and you can start playing.

But you can also plug the Magic Flute "AUDIO out" direct into a mixer. No other equipment is needed!

"TIP" small computer monitors: Behringer MS16

                                                                                                                        *TIP* use  a heavy music stand for your Control Module



A regular keyboard with build-in speakers. In this scenario you don't need any other equipment.
"TIP" With my pupils I work a lot with a Yamaha DJX 2 Dance/Techno keyboard. This old model has a hundred solo sounds and a lot of drum & sound loops. It is easy to use and you can buy this keyboard for very little on eBay.



A sound module (sometimes referred to as tone generator) is an electronic  musical instrument  without a human-playable interface such as a keyboard. Sound modules have to be "played" using an externally connected device. You also need speakers with an amplifier. ("TIP" small computer monitors: Behringer MS16).

 "TIP" the Yamaha VL70-m is perhaps the most expressive synth ever made when coupled to a wind controller like the Magic Flute. It provides computer-based "physical modeling" technology which accurately simulates the complex vibrations, resonances, reflections and other acoustic phenomena that occur in real wind or string instruments- to produce high quality monophonic (stereo but with 1 note polyphony) voices. Of course, it responds very well to the breath control* that the Magic Flute provides.

Unfortunately the VL70-m can only by bought outside Europe or on eBay.



"TIP" I was looking for a good sound source for the Magic Flute and found it in the Korg Micro X, a compact music synthesizer packed with a full complement of wonderful sounds.



Computer with sound card & MIDI interface

The great thing about a computer is that you will have access to unlimited possibilities.
There is so much software available. I'm not going to explain a lot but I will present you the programs that I tried and use. I work on a Windows computer that has a sound card with a Low Latency Driver.

 "TIP" I use a (Dual Core) laptop with a USB audio/MIDI interface (EMU 0404)


"TIP" Reason is a very nice standalone software music workstation. It is consumer friendly and the sounds are very diverse and of an excellent quality.
Reason free Demo version & The Magic Flute              Reason (+Sonic Flute Refill) played with the Magic Flute.mp3
How to program Breath Control in Reason                                "TIP" Sonic Flutes refill

There are a few standalone (+VST) soft synths that respond to breath control. There are demo versions.
Arturia Brass & The Magic Flute

Native FM8 & The Magic Flute

There is a free  "small" version of Sample tank with a nice saxophone sample.
Sample tank & The Magic Flute

In music programs like Cubase, Sonic, Acid etc you can set up VST instruments that can be played with the Magic Flute. 

 "TIP" Wallander Brass 1: the trial edition is a free download

       This is a must have plug in, it works really well with the Magic Flute.
       It responds realistically to velocity and breath controller data.
       The trial version has 3 instruments to try:
       Trumpet - Tenor Trombone - French Horn.

       Summertime played with the Magic Flute.mp3     
       "Close to you" played with the Magic Flute.mp3

Miles'tone is  a very nice VST plug in.

You can download a demo version on


Software for people with special needs.

One of my students has limited head movement when playing the Magic Flute, but despite this there are ways to use the Magic Flute to play music. All we need is a computer with some dedicated software. 

We use two different methods that allow our student to play different tunes and notes:

Performance in E-Scape (read more)
Remapping in MIDI-OX (read more)

* The Magic Flute always transmits Breath Controller (cc#2) messages in response to how hard you blow. It samples your breath pressure at some set sampling rate. It digitizes that breath pressure to a value between 1 and 127. If you want to get the most out of the Magic Flute, you'll need your sound source tuned to understand these breath control messages. Some softsynths/MIDI sound modules can be programmed to work, others cannot, others can to a certain degree. If your sound source doesn't support breath control then it still will respond on the velocity, so you can play soft and loud notes. But you can't vary the sound level on a single played note.