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How to make a MIDI compatible Stylophone


The Original Dubreq Stylophone

The Dubreq Stylophone was invented in 1968 by Brian Jarvis.  It was originally designed as a toy, but the fact that it was portable and easy to play and it's distinctive synth sound soon made it popular with some of the most iconic musicians of the late 60's. David Bowie used it on the track 'Space Oddity' and it made it's way on to recordings by the Beatles, Kraftwerk, Queen, Vangelis, The Osmonds and more.

The thing that really sets the  Stylophone design apart is plated circuit board touch-pads that you play with a stylus, thus the name Stylophone.

David Bowie with his Dubreq Stylophone
In 2003, Dubreq Ltd, a British company was formed to keep the legacy of the Stylophone alive and you can buy Stylophones at almost any large music store. 

They have even come out with BeatBox version. This demo by British comedian Brett Domino got 1.8 million hits on Youtube. 

The Stylophone Studio 5 with MIDI

But at MIDI.org, we are only interested in MIDI instruments, so we were happy to find The Stylophone Studio 5 on the website WaitingForFriday. 

The Stylophone Studio 5 is a project to recreate the original 1968 Dubreq Stylophone which sounds and reacts just like the original (and even contains a replica of the original circuitry) however it also fully supports both MIDI in and MIDI out over USB and can be controlled by studio software such as Cubase.

by Simon Inns

Everything you need to make your own MIDI controlled Stylophone is available on WaitingForFriday's website including a zip file containing  the AVR Studio 5 firmware project and the Eagle CAD board and schematic files for the project. 

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