Wiinstrument on Leopard

Wiinstrument configBless Nintendo for making the Wii controller: inexpensive, lots of internal sensor data (motion sensing, tilt sensing, buttons), elegant design, and standard Bluetooth support allowing it to be used with Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Now there’s free and open source software for making the most of your Wiimote as a musical instrument. First up: Wiinstrument, a multi-purpose percussion instrument, now available for all three operating systems (a Windows version was recently added).

  • Plays percussion / drums with gestures
  • Use an (in-development) internal sampler with WAV files, or trigger other software via MIDI
  • Use tilt for control changes
  • Supports tilt, velocity (how much force you use when you move your Wiimote), with acceleration from both the Wiimote and nunchuk
  • It works with Mac, Windows, and Linux, via a standard OpenGL-based interface, thanks to the awesome 2D OpenGL library Gosu. (Programmers, take note.)

Of course, drums are just the beginning — you could use this to trigger clips, grooves, visualist videos and animations, whatever. And it comes with demos, tutorials, source code, the lot.

Wiinstrument Release Information
GarageBand tutorial (relevant to other apps, too)
Support information for Windows, Mac OS X Leopard, Linux
Via thread with the creator on our forums

Here is in action.

But, you say, that’s all well and good, but it’s not … air guitar. Today is your lucky day:

Wii Guitar, Drum Kit

Evan told us earlier about his Wii Drum Kit. To that nicely-crafted (Windows-only) software, he’s added a Wii Guitar. Evan’s drum kit isn’t quite as sophisticated as the Wiinstrument, though it could still be useful as a simple solution. But the Wii Guitar does something the Wiinstrument doesn’t:

It is a basic wiimote guitar that can be played similar to the way you strum a real guitar. Hold a direction on the d-pad to select a chord, and swing your wiimote up and down to strum.

What? You think you might look a little … silly … doing this? Heck, yeah! We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Groovy. And if you’re a Windows-based .NET programmer, you may find his site a good starting place for your own Wii-based projects. (Cross-platform developers will want to stick to the Wiinstrument for wiinspiration.)

Wiimote Guitar v0.1
Wiimote Drum Kit


Wii Controller as Complete Audiovisual Musical Instrument, and How Less is More

  • Wes

    Arite that's it, i'm going to The Source to get me a Wii remote tommorrow!. Is there anything i need to buy like the charger for the remote or the receiver or is that just for the nintendo. I'm guessing because this is bluetooth i just need the remote, am i right?

    can't wait to get my hands on it in ableton.

    thank you

  • K-Supreme

    This is really cool. But i wonder how one would use this in a more traditional musical environment. I mean if one would use it as a dj to trigger loops and other sounds. From a practical standpoint, what would be the benefit of using this rather than a normal keyboard or device like padkontrol or monome. It certainly puts the fun back in music though.

    on a side note, i finally got a MBP and i´ve noticed that all the cool music programs and tiny apps are available for either osx+windows or just windows. that made me a bit sad 🙁

  • eS


    I think OSCulator may be what you're looking for!

    BTW "The Wiinstrument" is a great app! 🙂

  • corporation

    been trying to find a compatible BT adapter for communicating with my wiimote…

    my Kensington usb BT adaptor doesn't seem to be cutting it…

  • corporation: you on Mac or PC?

    I'm pretty happy with Sparkfun's USB Bluetooth module. It definitely works with the Wii (among other things):


  • eman

    Anyone else having trouble on intel OS X?


    eman$ /Users/eman/Desktop/The Wiinstrument 0.2b1151/The Wiinstrument.app/Contents/MacOS/The Wiinstrument

    dyld: Symbol not found: _NSGenericException

    Referenced from: /Users/eman/Desktop/The Wiinstrument 0.2b1151/The Wiinstrument.app/Contents/MacOS/The Wiinstrument

    Expected in: /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreFoundation.framework/Versions/A/CoreFoundation

    Trace/BPT trap


  • Wes

    k so i just reserved myself a wii over at the source and ebgames. but what's this about a bluetooth adapter?

    I'm on Mac, bluetooth is built in. i have a bluetooth kensington mouse that uses bluetooth fine. do i still need an adapter?

  • corporation

    ok got it working. used the datel my mii manager bt adapter.

    over all wasn't too impressed with the feeling of 'air drums' – reminded me too much of the 80's toy Hit Stix. I just couldn't get used to it.

    I'll continue to save for the mandala.

  • Pakl

    Here is my attempt for air guitar. I simulate 4 individual strings rather than a single chord.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qi9O1H64l8A http://youtube.com/watch?v=9D0770SMqK0

    I hope to release the executable as soon as I can test it with Leopard (within a day or two?)

    Download from http://pakl.net/wii/

  • Pakl

    Nevermind! – I just tested with Leopard and it works. Download is now available. =)

  • You shouldn't need a separate adapter if you've got a Mac with built-in Bluetooth. The internal Bluetooth works just fine.

    You'll want the adapter if you have a Mac without an adapter. Many PCs also lack internal receivers, and some have an incompatible receiver (might try it first) — PC you'll definitely want to try BlueSoleil if possible. I haven't tried with other Bluetooth stacks.

  • Wes

    well got myself a wii today, wiinstrument won't even start so forget that. then i tried using OSCulator but it seems there no learning mode so ableton would automatically detect any movement and use it as the trigger which got really annoying after all i wanted was to turn an effect on and off with the b button i couldn't, so i tried the next program WiiToMidi, which has a Learning Mode but it seems theres only: acceleration, orientation, position, velocity, and joystick(nunchuck). theres none for just the buttons. am i doing something wrong, i really need some help here. getting so annoyed. i just want to be able to turn an effect on/off with a button and then affect it with position/acceleration etc etc….

    Thanks if anyone can help please, i'd really appreciate it.

  • @Wes: To get rid of all sensors sending data at the same time when Live is in "Learn" mode, you can simply turn them off in Osculator by unchecking the checkboxes on the left in the list. You should only have one checkbox checked at a time when using "Learn" in Live.

  • Wes

    thanks for the tip, now its working all good.

  • oh,…

    i am so doing this.

    cuz i need another drum controller


  • Very good idea. With all the material available on this subject, I am very surprised nobody thought of this wonderfully thought out idea before now.