Use the Wii Nunchuck as a MIDI controller

Some weeks ago Wolfgang Gaube (a composer, musician and and sound designer) wrote me an email asking me, because I had some experience with the Wii and MIDI, whether it would be possible to use the Wii Nunchuck as a MIDI controller (hardware or software which generates and transmits MIDI data to MIDI-enabled devices). That’s how our cooperation started, we exchanged gear and setup details and started to work. Some research, scripting, trail and error resulted in a slick script for GlovePie…

Prerequisites (what you need to get it working):

  • Hardware
    • Computer
    • Bluetooth adapter (an adapter for using an open wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances).
    • Wii Remote (also known as a wiimote, the primary controller for Nintendo’s Wii console)
    • Wii Nunchuck (Its appearance when attached to the Wii Remote resembles the nunchaku, hence the name)
  • Software
    • GlovePie (is a free Programmable Input Emulator, originally for the Essential Reality P5 Virtual Reality Glove, which now supports a huge range of input devices, especially the Nintendo Wii Remote (Wiimote))
    • MIDI Yoke (allows you to connect the MIDI output from one program to the MIDI input of a different program)
    • MIDI-OX (is a 32 bit multi-purpose tool: it is both a diagnostic tool and a System Exclusive librarian. It can perform filtering and mapping of MIDI data streams. It displays incoming MIDI streams, and passes the data to a MIDI output driver or the MIDI Mapper.)
    • ZynAddSubFX (is a open source software synthesizer capable of making a countless number of instruments, from some common heard from expensive hardware to interesting sounds that you’ll boost to an amazing universe of sounds)
    • WiiNunChuck2Midi GlovePie script (a script that converts Nunchuck movements to MIDI controller information)

Let’s get going:

Where possible I provided links to the necessary download locations.

Download MIDI Yoke and install it.

Press Close and REBOOT your computer.

Configuring MIDI ports in Windows

Configure your MIDI ports in Windows by accessing the control panel (Start / Control Panel) and select “Sounds and Audio Devices”.

Go to the “Audio” TAB and select “Out to MIDI Yoke: 1”  as MIDI music playback device and click “OK”.

Download MIDI-OX and install it.

Configuring MIDI-OX

Now we have to configure MIDI-OX to pass the MIDI signal from MIDI Yoke: 1 to MIDI Yoke: 2

What is really happening:

GlovePie converts the Wii Nunchuck movements to MIDI controller information and sends the MIDI signals via the “MIDI Yoke: 1”  to MIDI-OX, MIDI-OX on its turn sends the MIDI signals to ZynAddSubFX via “MIDI Yoke: 2”.  ZynAddSubFX converts the MIDI signal into a sound effect (Wii Nunchuck movements >> GlovePie >> MIDI Yoke: 1 >> MIDI-OX >> MIDI Yoke: 2 >> ZynAddSubFX >> Sound effect).

Start MIDI-OX go to “Options” and select “”MIDI devices”.

Now select “In From MIDI Yoke: 1” as input and select “Out To MIDI Yoke: 2” as output and click OK.

Download ZynAddSubFX and install it.

Configuring MIDI ports in ZynAddSubFX

Go to “File” and select “Settings”.

In the right bottom corner select “In From MIDI Yoke: 2” as MIDI-in device, and click “Close”.

Download GlovePie and install it. GlovePie doesn’t come with an installer so you have to create a folder and extract the zip file into the folder. In my case I created a folder called “C:\Program Files\GlovePie”. I also created a shortcut to my desktop (right click “GlovePIE.exe”, send to, shortcut to desktop).

Configuring GlovePie

After the installation of GlovePie we need a script that actually converts the Wii Nunchuck movements to MIDI controller events. So I wrote a script called Wii Nunchuck to MIDI (WiiNunChuck2MIDI), download the WiiNunChuck2MIDI GlovePie script and extract it to the “GlovePie\WiimoteScripts” folder (In our case the “C:\Program Files\GlovePie\WiimoteScripts” folder).

Check this update : Wii2MIDI including NunChuck MIDI control

Connecting the Wii Remote to Windows

Connect WiiMote to Windows by accessing the control panel (Start / Control Panel) and select “Bluetooth Devices”.

Click the “Add” button.

Select “My Device is set up and ready to be found”, press 1+2 on your WiiMote and click “Next”.

Select the found Nintendo device and click “Next”.

Select don’t use passkey and click “Next” then click “Finish”.

Now let’s Rock and Roll !

  • Start ZynAddSybFX select an instrument by going to “Instrument” and select “Show instrument bank” use the drop down box in the upper left corner and choose something you like (you can change instruments later while everything is up and running).
  • Start MIDI-OX
  • Connect your Wii Remote to Windows
  • Hookup your Wii Nunchuck to your Wii Remote
  • Start GlovePie
  • Load and start the WiiNunChuck2MIDI script
  • Play notes with you (virtual) keyboard and start controlling your sounds with Nunchuck movements 🙂
  • Have fun !!!

Suggestions for improving this article are welcome, please let me know and drop me a line