New MPE Instrument, The Wisp

Developer Alex Duncan of WillowISP shared this introduction to the Wisp, a new expressive MIDI controller, based on the Sensel Morph touchpad.

The Wisp is designed to give you continuous control over pitch, timbre and volume for each note that you play. And the Wisp’s Isomorphic Key layout is designed so that fingering align consistently with the harmonic relationships of music.


  • Ease of playing massive chords – Each of the Wisp’s rows is an octave above the one below, so you can span the entire range of the instrument with one hand.
  • Isomorphic key layout – Unlike many traditional acoustic instruments, the distance between semitones is always the same, in every key. This means the shape of a riff or chord always matches its sound.
  • Low latency – The Willowisp software updates many hundreds of times per second for fluid responsiveness.
  • MPE support – Bending or vibrato on multiple notes at the same time. Polyphonic aftertouch. The Wisp Was made for that. Control pitch bend by sliding finger to the left or right, and MPE “Slide” with up or down.
  • Expressive control – Inside the Wisp is a Sensel Morph, a touchpad that continuously captures not only X and Y locations, but extremely sensitive pressure measurements (32,000 levels.)
  • Visualization software – The visualization in the Willowisp software can take the place of traditional sheet music, translating MIDI files into a visualization of the notes on the Wisp.

Pricing and Availability

The Wisp is available made to order, priced at $650 USD.

21 thoughts on “New MPE Instrument, The Wisp

  1. Ok, looks interesting, but you lost me at ‘if you’re a producer that doesn’t know music theory, this will help you write structurally sound songs.’

    a) you don’t need much music theory to do that,

    b) no of course it won’t.

    1. You’d be better off buying a Sensel Morph with piano and Buchla Thunder overlays (I just did) for slightly over $300, than spending $650 for a homemade-looking device like this.

  2. I like the concept, and I think the sales pitch makes a few very valid points. However, there were some statements that were a little over-the-top. E.g., Physical instruments do not represent a “prison”. Also, not a very convincing example of “extremely velocity sensitive”.

    I’ll that criticism aside, I always want to welcome manufactures trying new and expressive instruments. They should feel proud of that endeavor and not feel like they need to smack down the competition.

  3. This looks more like a DIY home project rather than a polished ready for market instrument

    Certainly doesn’t look like it’s $650 – approx the price of a Rise 25

  4. Unbelievably – this is actually made from a Sensel Morph

    As in there is literally a Sensel Morph inside it

    How is he allowed to sell this ?

    For more than a Morph….

    From the website:

    “Inside every Wisp is a Sensel Morph, an extraordinary touchpad that registers not only X and Y locations but extremely sensitive pressure measurements for precise velocity. (32,000 levels.)”

    1. Unless he’s got an agreement with Sensel to use the Morph as though it’s part of his own design, he’ll be hearing from Sensel’s attorneys real soon. 🙂
      Imagine someone taking the guts of a Sequential OB-6, for example, and repackaging it in their own enclosure and calling it their own.

      1. I don’t know if this is a fair comparison, but TouchKeys sold kits, and you had an option to buy the kit pre-installed on a 3rd party keyboard.

        Obviously, this is different as it not being marketed as a Sensel mod kit.

          1. Lots of people probably. This guy, the Sensel guys, lawyers that might get involved, anyone who has bought it or is intending to buy it, anyone who has commented here, anyone with a passing interest…

      2. He’s paying for the Morphs. He didn’t steal them.

        He’s not building copies of Morphs.

        He’s not selling this and telling people the final product is a official product of Sensel.

        Sensel’s lawyers aren’t going to be contacting him unless he misrepresents the final product as being from Sensel, or unless he somehow starts manufacturing Morphs himself without a license.

        Sensel also distributes a development kit so people can make their own custom instruments from the devices. It’s actually something you’re encouraged to do.

          1. > “but not package a Sensel Morph within another design.”

            So… Nowhere on the page you cite does that quote or a paraphrase of it exist. You just made that policy up!

            Even if it was their policy, it would be unenforceable in the US unless each purchaser had to sign a contract promising not to resell.

            1. That is not a quote (note no quotation marks). It should be obvious from reading the web page that designers are required to create their overlays to fit within the parameters of the Morph device, and not build the Morph device into an enclosure or case of their own design. See my hypothetical example above about the OB-6. If that was legal, anyone could repackage any intellectual property and sell it as their own.

              1. > It should be obvious from reading the web page that designers are required to create their overlays to fit within the parameters of the Morph device, and not build the Morph device into an enclosure or case of their own design

                It’s absolutely not obvious at all. Designers are not “required” to do any such thing, nor does anything they have said imply it.

                > about the OB-6

                Let’s see. You said “magine someone taking the guts of a Sequential OB-6, for example, and repackaging it in their own enclosure and calling it their own.” And that’s not what happened here at all.

                However, if I want to modify my own OB-6 and sell it I can do so. I can also sell retrofit kits if I like. Many people do both. I could even stick an OB-6 in a box that I added things to and sell it as “My Gizmo, with an OB-6 inside.” and that would be legal as well. I might want to put a disclaimer “Note: BatCo is not affiliated in any way with Sequential.”

  5. Mostly Make Noise stuuf by the looks of it

    Top: Telharmonic, Mysteron, Function, MMG, Rossum Morpheus, Qu-bit Nanorand V2, ???, ???

    Bottom: Power supply , Pittsburgh Lifeforms, STO, Function, Mutable Rings, ???, ???, Erbeverb

  6. I really like the idea of MPE, but the problem with most of these controllers is that they are promoted as easy and musically playable. But my experience is: most of them are not. They are hard to play properly due to the smal and strange note layout, strange finger positions and lack of feel. I did certainly not try them all, but when I see the demonstrations you immediately recognise the problem: because of unplayability, mainly slow evolving notes are played, with may-be a monophonic melody over the top (which can be nice, but you probably do not need MPE for that, a second keyboard would do just as well). The view times velocity is used, you here very uneven expression, probably due tot the difficult finger movements. They can be a fun toy, but getting something usefull out of them is pretty hard. You probably need to be a finger acrobat like Jordan Rudess. I fear this device is no exception.

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