8th August 2007
The Vienna Symphonic Library team has announced the release of the new Vienna Instruments collection Special Keyboards, which is now available from Vienna's worldwide network of distributors and dealers. The 8 GB collection offers a "state-of-the-art" approach to capturing these rare instruments: a harpsichord, a harmonium, and a prepared piano.
The harpsichord has a famously bright sound, rich in overtones. Typically a Baroque instrument, the harpsichord has played a minimal role in classical and romantic music. In modern literature, however, it has been rediscovered by a broad range of musicians, and is also used poignantly and effectively in film and TV music. In Vienna's own Silent Stage, the following single notes and repetition performances of a two manual harpsichord were recorded: 8' register solo, 8' double, and tutti (a combination of two 8' registers and one 4' register).
The harmonium is a free-reed instrument, meaning that air streaming past reeds of different lengths causes them to vibrate. Unlike organ pipes, the harmonium's reeds produce more disharmonic overtones, creating a unique undulating sound.
The prepared piano is a technique introduced in 1949 by John Cage, where objects like erasers, nails, wire, paper, etc., are inserted between a piano's strings in certain places, causing them to produce additional tones, harmonics, or percussive sounds. The Vienna team also treated the Bösendorfer grand piano with bare hands (e.g., glissandos over the strings) and with wood mallets in order to get a multitude of creative sounds and colors.
Like all Vienna Instruments collections, the Special Keyboards collection ships in VST (Mac OS X, Win XP), AU (Mac OS X) and stand-alone versions. It retails for $385 / €295. There are no Standard and Extended Library options, as in other Vienna Instruments collections; the Special Keyboards collection includes the full sets of samples along with the software instrument, featuring Vienna's exclusive Vienna Instruments engine.
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