Hi, I am a Lyricon owner and player. Since I created a page on my website, dozens of people have contacted me about this instrument. This page is meant to give some answers to the most common questions, and for people to post comments. Although this has the format of a blog, I will keep the amount of posts very limited to just a few categories. -Jorrit Dijkstra-


- What is a Lyricon? The Lyricon was invented by Bill Bernardi and Roger Noble of Computone Inc, in Massachussetts in the early 1970's. Three models were built: The original Lyricon I (additive synthesis, one oscillator split into different overtones), the Lyricon Driver (to be connected to an external analog synthesizer through Control Voltages), and the Lyricon II (with two oscillators, filter and LFO). No MIDI functionality was added, because MIDI didn't exist yet. Later MIDIfication modules were developed by JL Cooper and STEIM, but never worked very well. Of the Lyricon I, about 200 units were hand made, and about 250 units of the Driver and the Lyricon II were manufactured by Selmer.
- Why is the Lyricon such an expressive instrument? The Lyricon reacts to wind pressure (the harder you blow, the louder the sound), lip pressure (for pitch bend and vibrato) and of course changes in pitch by fingering. Some people call it the synthesizer that is closest to the human body, because of these three control parameters, and because of the fact that it works with (continuous) control voltages, rather than MIDI.
- How is it different form the EWI or WX5? Don't confuse the Lyricon with either the EWI (made by Akai) or the Yamaha WX5 or WX7. These are MIDI based electronic wind instruments, invented after the Lyricon, capable of doing very different things.
- Where can I buy a Lyricon? They are hard to find, but sometimes they show up on Ebay. The majority of them don't work very well anymore, so beware!! A Lyricon in questionable shape (needs repair) can go up to $750, a working Lyricon I could go up to $2500, a working Lyricon II or Driver between $500 and $2000 or so. If you have one for sale or are seriously looking for one, please post a comment below to the Marketplace post.
- My Lyricon produces a constant sound, regardless if I blow into it, or turn the threshold knob. What's wrong? Most Lyricons that haven't been played for a few years, don't function well anymore. The membrane in the transducer gets hard, and the Lyricon doesn't respond to wind pressure anymore. The Lyricon will produce a constant sound, and upon blowing into it, the volume won't change. This is bad news, the membrane needs to be replaced, a time consuming and tedious repair job. Especially the Lyricon 1 has fragile 1970's style electronics inside, that can have a temperament...
- Where can I get my Lyricon repaired? The only person who can really do this is the inventor himself: Bill Bernardi. Because of increasing repair demand, Bernardi has recently picked up and expanded his Lyricon business again, and will be able to take more repairs. Bill can also upgrade Lyricons for a better performance. He charges $650 and up per instrument. Contact him at: lyriconone at aol dot com


Recordings, Players

Masa's Lyricon Museum (check link in Lyricon Links section to the right) offers an extensive list of Lyricon recordings. If you know of any other interesting or obscure Lyricon recordings, players or performances, post a comment here.

Technical Issues & Tips

Comment here if you are using your Lyricon in an interesting way, or if you have any tips about sounds, settings etc.


Marketplace: Sell or Buy a Lyricon

Want to sell or buy a Lyricon? Write a comment to this post.

Lyricon Info

Give a general comment,or say something about (improving) this page.