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Modartt has announced the release of the Steelpans add-on for Pianoteq (which has been updated to version 4.0.4). Steelpans includes 4 playable instruments: Steel Drum, Spacedrum, Hand Pan and Tank Drum.

The Pianoteq physical model has been enriched to produce the characteristic timbre of steelpans, with their "blooming" overtones that arise from the mechanical properties of thin steel sheets. Two unique parameters, blooming energy and blooming inertia, are especially interesting for adjusting the steelpans sound. Thanks to the physical model, the Steelpans add-on offers playability and versatility.

Built from empty oil barrels
Because the Trinidad government forbade conventional drums, musicians turned to empty oil barrels for a percussion instrument. American soldiers, stationed in Trinidad during the early 1940s, discovered the beauty of the sounds and started marketing the instruments internationally. Steel drums are intimately connected with calypso music and are also used in Latin and jazz music.

Four instruments included: Steel Drum, Spacedrum, Hand Pan and Tank Drum
Each instrument is provided with one preset faithful to the original instrument modelled and several variants.

  • The Steel Drum can be regarded as the ancestor of these instruments and is a combination of the known types, the "double second", the "tenor", the "double guitar", and the "triple cello". Its range covers 4 octaves.
  • The Spacedrum is a recent variant of the Hand Pan, and the first to be made available in a thirteen note chromatic model, opening new horizons to the musicians. The blooming effect is a bit less pronounced than in the Steel Drum. The Pianoteq Spacedrum and Hand Pan instruments offer presets for both hand playing and mallet playing. They are extended to 4 octaves. One of the Spacedrum creators, Marc Guilliou from Metal Sounds (metalsounds.fr), participated in the testing of the Pianoteq add-on version to make sure it is as authentic as possible.
  • The Tank drum is made of thicker metal from a gas tank. Several tongues cut from the bottom of the tank produce the notes. Its shape and thickness greatly reduce the blooming effect. The Pianoteq add-on is extended to 3½ octaves.

Pricing & Availability

The Steelpans add-on is embedded in demo mode in Pianoteq's latest version 4.0.4, and can be activated for 49 € ($59). Listen to audio samples and read more about the instruments at www.pianoteq.com.

Changes in Pianoteq Version 4.0.4:

  • New steeldrums/steelpans/tank drum instruments.
  • Performance issue with effects fixed.
  • Fixed a bug where custom effect presets were not being enabled when loaded.
  • Fixed automation issues of the STAGE version with some parameters.
  • The windows version now releases the audio/MIDI device when the computer is being suspended.
  • The windows version correctly shuts down when the computer is being turned off.
  • Slow WAV export in the standalone version fixed.
  • The panic button also resets the MIDI connections when clicked.
  • The 'no audio device' dialog has been improved.
  • Better behaviour with low velocity repeated notes when the sustain pedal is used.
  • Added 'clear menu' entries in the recent MIDI files menu.
  • Added a '--MIDImapping' command-line option.
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