Date of Graduation
College of Creative Arts
School of Music
Travis D Stimeling
The development of the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) electronic wind instrument (EWI) stemmed from earlier electronic instruments including analog/digital synthesizers, earlier control devices (Lyricon), and electronic instruments using a "blow tube trigger generator" (Yamaha WX) or breath controllers (Yamaha BC). Developing such devices began as early as the 1940s and were originally intended for compositional use instead of performance. However, the technology of electro-acoustic sounds continued to expand commercially from the 1950s through the 1970s, including more general access to sound synthesis and live performance. Various companies including Yamaha, Akai, Moog, Korg, and others would establish lines of synthesizers that shaped the music instrument industry throughout the rest of the century. During the 1970s, the technology used only allowed each company's devices to communicate with those of the same brand and not others. This incompatibility would be resolved with the introduction of MIDI in 1983. MIDI is the current industry standard in compatible synthesizer technology and allows a musician to connect devices from different companies, as they communicate using the same signals. The EWI is uniquely designed so that it is accessible to a musician with prior experience on selected woodwind instruments. Many musicians including Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer have performed on the EWI in addition to saxophone. During the mid-1980s, classical composers took interest in the instrument and composed specifically for the EWI. Some musicians believed that this would be the instrument of the future. However, this notion has faded away over the years. There is only a limited amount of classical music written for the EWI, primarily within a brief span between the late 1980s and early 1990s.;The document serves as a resource for teachers, students, and composers interested in studying the EWI. This presents a brief history of the EWI; performance analysis of selected works; and a guide to the instrument's western art-music repertoire, recordings, technical specifications, and pedagogy. Works by Leonard V. Ball, Marilyn Shrude, Gil Trythall, and William Moylan are studied in this document, exploring techniques and solving possible issues a performer may encounter when learning the EWI repertoire. The detailed information provided the selected works may be beneficial for those seeking to perform works dedicated to the EWI. Since there are many technical components involved with the EWI, the author provides instruction on using these devices: MIDI tone generator, mixer, computer, and cable configurations. Tone generators studied include the Yamaha WT11, Yamaha TG55, and Korg Wavestation. All examples in this document are examined through the lens of the Yamaha WX5 EWI, covering its specifications and adaption to the selected works. A comprehensive fingering chart is included as a supplement. In addition to the examined works, this author has compiled a list of western art-music repertoire that includes pertinent information for each piece: composer, duration, composition date, specified equipment, publisher/contact, and library via WorldCat (OCLC). The compiled list of recordings consists of a combination of sources that may be obtained in both a tangible format (i.e. tape, CD) and/or online source (i.e. YouTube, SoundCloud).
Swallow, Matthew J., "MIDI Electronic Wind Instrument: A Study of the Instrument and Selected Works" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6750.