Tonehammer has announced the release of two new piano libraries for Kontakt and Kontakt Player: Plucked Grand Piano ($99) and Bowed Grand Piano ($79).
Tonehammer says: "As die-hard art-weirdoes and do-it-yourselfers, we're big fans of some of the early classic piano experimentalism of the mid-20th century, when a few brave musical souls began to peel back the more rigid layers of instrumental dogma that had encrusted musical theory over roughly the previous 100 years. Just as musical traditions are built over time, so must they inevitably and righteously be again dismantled for the good of the art form."
"The piano descended from earlier stringed percussion instruments that were played with fingers, picks or hammers, such as dulcimers, and zithers, so in a sense, playing a piano in that fashion is not really that experimental. Like many of the more unconventional methods of utilizing a piano, plucking, hammering and bowing the strings with fishing line was essentially rediscovered in early and mid 20th century by artists such as John Cage, Henry Cowell and other visionaries, who composed a great many scores specifically for plucked, bowed and otherwise "modified" piano configurations or articulations."
"We decided to keep our "Emotional Piano" in the Tonehammer workshop for awhile longer, just to see what extra magic we could lovingly pry out of it. The purpose of these two libraries is essentially to focus on the clean and most basic interpretation of plucked and hammered piano, as well as the bowed piano and its gliss- and string-effect derivatives. Both of these "Powered-By-Kontakt" libraries have beautiful matching custom graphic interfaces and are compatible with the free Kontakt 4.1.1 Player, as well as the full version of Kontakt."
Plucked Grand Piano [$99]
For the Plucked Grand Piano library, Tonehammer captured sustains and release triggers every note, over multiple velocities and round-robin variations, using a giant nylon pick. The sound is much more singular, focused and narrow, with more buzz and twang in the sound. It's much more like a harp crossed with a gigantic 88-string guitar, yet completely unique. Then Tonehammer used a small 1-oz. stainless steel hammer to strike each string for the "hammered" articulation, which gave a harder, metallic dulcimer-like tone. Tonehammer then built in a broad interface packed full of custom performance, tone and effect controls, as well as adding custom convolutions and special effects presets to allow plenty of creative freedom.
Bowed Grand Piano [$79]
For the Bowed Grand Piano, Tonehammer used a 3-meter deep sea fishing line to capture super-long sustains on every note, with separate attacks and releases. The hard metal strings evoke sinister sustains, growls, rumbles and all manner of droning and piercing harmonics, overtones and undertones. Notes bend and undulate deeply and the entire flavor of the piano can shift from one string to the next. Tonehammer then used twine, picks, fingers, fingernails, mallets and other odds and ends to scrape, sweep, strike, grind and otherwise abuse the stings for the effects section. These sweep, swells, rumbles and glisses are perfect for suspense, drama and horror scoring. Then, Tonehammer dove even deeper into the sound, creating a huge pallet of custom drones, ambiences and tonal pad instruments, as well as a deep interface packed full of custom performance, tone and effect controls.