Le Bidule is an open source firmware for Arduino, ideas and schematics for a versatile electronic wind instrument :

synthesizer with three tunable oscillators, vibrato, portamento, mixable square, pwm, pulse & noise waves, and some behaviour options.

usb midi thanks to the MocoLUFA firmware on Arduino UNO. For other devices, a Serial-to-Midi utility is available on Linux, MacOS, Windows and Android. It can also drive Bluetooth Serial or MIDI emitters.

power by usb, dc jack, battery, solar panel...

sure (systole universal remote) is a solid protocol which gives you access to all the settings via your web browser.

easy to build and enhance

tactile keys up to 13, made of simple wires or any metal piece like drawing pins. Make your own fingering, customize midi note and cent pitch for each combination. Use switches instead of tactile keys if you want, and adapt to real instruments or mechanical parts.

speaker output that can drive directly loudspeakers, piezos, spring reverb, even contact speaker on the instrument to feel the music's vibration. No other component needed.

breath control is an option, added with a single component, but you can play "le bidule" directly without blowing, as with a bag pipe.

line output for any amp, fx pedal, or FM emitter. It just needs a germanium diode and an audio jack plug for the basic output. Then add a potentiometer for the volume, or a condenser for filtering.

hardware midi out with two 220ohms resistors and a midi socket.

enveloppe & volume control with a led and a photoresistor.

give a second life to an old smartphone pluging it to "Le Bidule" and using it as

- a battery
- a virtual synthesizer
- a digital stompbox
- a Bluetooth MIDI emitter
- a Bluetooth Audio emitter
- a preset editor
- a playback device to play over your favorite tracks

customised fingerings

Real instruments ( and toy, to "play" ) VS serious MIDI controler that nobody will use in a real musical scene.
Why do few interesting musician play these instruments ?
Why do demonstrator never play anything satisfying ?
Maybe it's not an instrument, maybe nobody wanted to write some music for it, because this instruments already exists - this is a synthesizer in the people's mind.

So if it's a toy, a tool, a toyl, a "bidule", you should customize it, build it, know how to repair it, and not pay a lot for something that don't worth it.

Apprendre aux enfants ? Dangereux, imiter le design et les mimiques d'un instrument avec du plastique ne va pas les aider.

In theses videos, why do people try to smile when they say "it has a very cool saxophone sound" or that the ingeneer "reproduced the feeling of a real instrument" ? Do they really believe it ?

Le Bidule is a tool. You can call it an instrument if you know and control what will happen until the way you produce the sound, and feel what you put in it.
Otherwise it's just a nice tool, which is not bad. But of course, if you always plug it in a computer, use only VSTs with their presets, never try to play it in lofi speakers, analog FXs pedals, spring resonnators, contact magnet, acoustic automated instruments... life is sad.

The more you add sensors and controllers, the more you dance like a monkey while playing - and the more you escape from the field of music.

The other question was my general feelings about todays's digital world. Why try to play a virtual sax when you have one ????

I spent a lot of time working on playing drums and fast rythms with percussive sounds and my own samples thanks to my first Yamaha WX11, and because the tool offered me new ways of playing.

MIDI technology is an indusrty standard since 1983. It's a cable, with 2 or 3 wires, and an old communication protocol that every computer or phone can read and send. It's our toy now, no more the musical industry's one. It easy to build than a simple flute with elderberry tree. Needs some skills, but how satisfying ! And then, you know how to repair and customize it... I'm not good at soldering or cutting wood nicely, so I worked a lot on how to build Le Bidule quickly and without particular knowledge.

Do you really have theses 700 bucks ? Le Bidule costs under 50 if you do it by yourself. To play a few afternoons, get bored of the sound and then use it as a nice midi controler to write scores and jam sometimes, I would not give my all "economies" !! Let's the money in a real instrument made by real human beings with feeling, knowledge and traditions.

I play it a lot with Rhizottome, since my good old Casio DH100 left me. I begun with rebuilding the electronic inside with an Arduino, and cutted the mouthpiece and the speaker in order to put it easily in my touring bag. As it has been totally broken, I decided to build one from scratch. I had to move from switches, which are the more efficient but much more complex to build, to capacitive keys and auto-calibrating keyboard with very few parts needed : some punaises. No expensive card, no "daughter board" to solder, just the naked Arduino which has become a great standard as MIDI did.

It gave us a very responsive and quick-to-build tool : Le Bidule.

I wanna get a Bidule !

brand new Bidule, or five minutes kit

I wanna build my Bidule !

Download (firmware & software)
Build instructions
User Manual

... not yet but soon ...

getting started & user manual

Le Bidule



open source
& custom devices
by matthieu metzger