Silent WInd
February 14, 2007 4:42 AM   Subscribe

This morning I sat near a guy on a train, who produced a pair of headphones and plugged them into what I can only describe as a silent flute...

The guy then practised on the instrument during the journey. It was about 8 or 9 inches long, clear plastic with electronics visible inside, no moving keys, but some kind of silver sensors. It was played more in the manner of a whistle or bagpipes. What on earth was it ?
posted by funboytree to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
MIDI instrument. Not sure which.
posted by sonofslim at 5:09 AM on February 14, 2007

Was it this Yamaha instrument?

Click Me!
posted by JigSawMan at 5:11 AM on February 14, 2007

There are a couple MIDI chanters on the market, including this one that supports headphones directly.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:52 AM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: beowulf573's link led me to the Fagerstrom Technochanter. Comes in black or translucent plastic.
posted by medium format at 8:25 AM on February 14, 2007

...although looking at it know, it doesn't look like you actually blow into the technochanter. was this guy putting it in his mouth? (that sounds so dirty)
posted by medium format at 8:29 AM on February 14, 2007

Yep, having played on an electric bagpipes practice chanter, that sounds just like one.
posted by J-Train at 8:37 AM on February 14, 2007

Thirding the practice chanter.

("MIDI" is a red herring there. Obviously it's electronic, but it doesn't have to control an external synthesizer in order to be able to play through headphones.)
posted by mendel at 10:13 AM on February 14, 2007

There aren't any commercially available electronic tinwhistles (although someone did one as a graduate project and is considering doing a commercial version). So what you saw is likely an electronic pipe chanter of some sort.

If it wasn't in his mouth it was a pipe chanter:




If it was in his mouth it was probably a "wind controller" of some sort, Yamaha (see above) being the most common.
posted by srt19170 at 1:13 PM on February 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks - it was the Fagerstrom clear chanter.

It looked better than it sounds.

I'm going to have to get a Yamaha silent guitar for my journey to work....
posted by funboytree at 3:07 PM on February 14, 2007

actually, the GHB Technopipes sound much better than the chanter once you add the drones. Not cheap at $375US, but they do work as a midi controller and you don't have to keep the bloody bag inflated.
posted by medium format at 1:02 AM on February 15, 2007

I had no idea such a thing existed, and I'm all excited about it. To piggyback on funboytree's question, are there recommendations on a starter instrument of this sort, (silent, electronic wind instruments)? I'm a fretted instrument player who longs to learn both clarinet and bagpipes, but startup cost is prohibitive, as is time to play with kiddies napping and apartment neighbors.
posted by monkeymadness at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2007

And while I've never seen a silent guitar, there are silent violins out there. Very cool, since you can avoid the dying cat sounds while learning to carry a tune.
posted by monkeymadness at 9:28 AM on February 15, 2007

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