You need to be logged in to post on the forum
Topic Options
#423673 - 07/29/17 08:02 PM [Off-Topic] Yamaha Venova - a "branched pipe" woodwind
dcuny Offline

Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sacramento, California
I recently ran across the Yamaha's Venova, which seems to be another competitor for the "pocket saxophone" market. That makes it different from instruments such as the Xaphoon is that it's got a "branch" in the pipe, which causes it to behave more like a conical bore instrument (such as a saxophone) than a cylindrical bore instrument (such as a clarinet or Xaphoon).

The branch means that the instrument is actually open at both ends. Like a saxophone - it overblows at the octave instead of at the 12th.

This branched pipe is - as best I can tell - something truly innovative. The design apparently first came out of a method for synthesizing conical bores, and later was applied to physical instruments.

The Venova uses a soprano saxophone mouthpiece as a resonator, and is about the same size as a tenor recorder. To make it fit in the hand better, the tube has multiple small bends instead of being straight, and there are keys for low C, C#, D and D# to make it easier to play.

The fingering is essentially the same as a C recorder.

Unfortunately, the advertising campaign seems to be aimed at young hipsters:

Yamaha's slogan is Venova - Casual Wind Instrument. Making music is fun!

Also unfortunate is the sound of the instrument - in most videos it is rather disappointing. I think the jSax sounds much better "out of the box" than the Venova.

This isn't to say that the Venova can't be played well - here's an example where it sounds quite good, if you ignore some of the rather squirrely notes:

It's pretty clear that this instrument isn't a saxophone, and it's certainly not a recorder. Rather, it needs to be approached on its own terms.

The first person I'd heard who actually sounded good on the instrument was Linsey Pollak:

On YouTube, Linsey's claim to fame is the ability to construct instruments out of household materials. For example, he's got a video where he created a clarinet out of a carrot.

After playing with the Venova, Linsey created a Dr. Seuss-ish instrument which he's dubbed the Cylisax on account of it having a cylindrical bore and a sax-like sound. Linsey can make anything sound good:

Clearly, the Venova could be a good instrument. But like a soprano saxophone, it seems to require more than just a "casual" player to sound decent.

I wonder if Yamaha has further plans for this past the "casual instrument" stage.
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

#423675 - 07/29/17 08:28 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Yamaha Venova - a "branched pipe" woodwind [Re: dcuny]
Matt Finley Offline

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17633
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Hey, thanks David. I had not heard of this. Fun.

I like the idea of shortening the basic woodwind tube by those short curves. But I don't understand the function of the extra short tube on top.

Funny he would use a Kenny G tune to demo.

He never hit a D (for the horn) squarely; they were all over the place (squirrely, as you said).

The small soprano sax mouthpiece does require more control than a tenor sax mouthpiece as used on the competitor. People ask me what it's like when I play soprano, and I tell them it's like herding cats.

As to the tone, I think I much prefer a wooden tenor recorder to this. Perhaps they are aiming for the fourth-grade flutaphone market, in which case I think it would be great.

Perhaps if they made one out of some denser metal (if possible with those bends) then the sound could have some character.

Thanks for sharing.
BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

#423679 - 07/29/17 09:46 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Yamaha Venova - a "branched pipe" woodwind [Re: Matt Finley]
dcuny Offline

Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
But I don't understand the function of the extra short tube on top.

The tube on the Venova has a cylindrical bore. That means that it should behave like a clarinet, which also has a cylindrical bore.

However, the additional pipe gives the instrument two open ends, with the reed in between. As a result, the instrument behaves similar to a conical bore instrument.

One result of this a timbre which sounds more like a saxophone than a clarinet. You can hear this in Linsey's Cylisax.

Also, instruments with a cylindrical bore and are closed at one end aren't able to support the second harmonic. The reason for this is too complicated for me to grasp.

Since the Venova is open at both ends, another result of the second tube is that it overblows (much more conveniently) at the octave.
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?


PG Music News
Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac - Importing MIDI Files

Did you know that Standard MIDI files can be read in to the Melodist or Soloist track within Band-in-a-Box? You can use all of the MIDI File, or select channels or a specific range of bars, using these steps:
1. Melody | Import Melody from MIDI File to select a MIDI file from disk using the file dialog.
2. Melody | Import Melody from Clipboard - when the MIDI data is already copied from another program to the

A new window will open, asking for additional criteria - which channels, # of bars to offset..., # of bars to import, include lyrics, include patch changes - and more! Head to our online manual Chapter 10: Working with MIDI to learn more!

YouTube Find - Your First 15 Minutes with Band-in-a-Box

Woody Piano Shack recently got their hands on Band-in-a-Box after a long time without the program - and they're thrilled!!

Check out this video they've shared to their YouTube Channel:

Thanks Woody Piano Shack!

National Dictionary Day - Guitar & Piano Chord Dictionaries

Today is National Dictionary Day!

We offer 2 dictionaries for just $19 each: the Guitar Chord Dictionary & the Piano Chord Dictionary!

Each of these programs are easy to use! Simply choose a root note, select the chord you want to learn, and the Dictionary will play and display the chord!

An Essential Tool for any Musician!

User Tip - Band-in-a-Box® to Reaper: The Basics

Forum user DeaconBlues09 has created a video to demonstrate how easy the process is for them to streamline their workflow with DAWs, particularly Reaper - check it out: click here to watch.

Join the forum discussion.

Train Your Brain with Band-in-a-Box®

National Train Your Brain Day is October 13th!

Open your Band-in-a-Box® program, and you'll find the [Practice] button in the toolbar - it's a GREAT resource!
Minimized your toolbar? Head to Window | Practice Window or ALT SHIFT L to access

In this window, you'll find many options to help you practice, including Ear Training games, access to the Chord Builder and Chord Subs, some helpful tools within the Playalong Features menu, and more!

Train Your Brain with Band-in-a-Box® today!

Band-in-a-Box Patch Updates - #TechTuesday

Visit our Patches & Updates page, and you will see that with every version released, there are 2+ patch updates applied to that version.

Patch updates are important, and should definitely be installed to your BB folder. They can add new features, update the help resources of the program, fix bugs reported by users, and make your entire Band-in-a-Box experience run smoothly!

Band-in-a-Box update options can be adjusted within the program too - within Band-in-a-Box for Mac, head to Band-in-a-Box | Check for Updates | and then you can select to automatically check for updates by however many days you choose!

Xtra Styles PAK 5 Contest - Listen to All the Entries!

Our Xtra Styles PAK 5 Contest is over, and the winners have been announced - congratulations again to forum users fiddler2007, rodipoet, Will Josef, and Ezekiel's Storm!

And, a BIG thank you to everyone who entered their songs on our contest - WOW what a great list of songs! We've arranged all the song entries into one simple list, if you'd like to listen to all the entries click here.

Forum Stats
28070 Members
57 Forums
54416 Topics
449870 Posts

Max Online: 2434 @ 11/14/17 12:37 AM
Newest Members
ugtk, helenmai, chuckster55, KeithR, Andreu Casado

28070 Registered Users
Top Posters (30 Days)
Noel96 156
David Snyder 155
Janice & Bud 140
Matt Finley 137
Tangmo 130
Will Josef 129
Alyssa - PG Music 127
MarioD 120
beatmaster 118
Deryk - PG Music 111
Today's Birthdays