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Topic: Zither Piano

  1. #1

    Zither Piano

    I just wanted to check whether anyone is aware of a 'prepared' piano library that allows you to play the strings inside the piano in the manner of a harp.

    I know there are libraries that contain 'strums' on predetermined sets of strings, in fact my own freebie samples contain such strums. But Nikolas' recent piece for piano and theremin required the pianist to perform a very gradual glissando, going up and down at will.

    I've been thinking how to do that, and am wondering about experimenting with samples of individual strings, brushed with the fingernail, or maybe the pad of the finger. The problem is, with strings being so close together, getting clean samples of each string, at several dynamics, is going to be reeaaallly painstaking. So I want to be absolutely sure there's nothing that does the job already.

    I know the VSL prepared piano contains strums, but the articulation list at their site doesn't elaborate on how controllable they are. And I can find very little detail about the other prepared pianos on the market.

    Can anyone who owns any of them enlighten me?

  2. #2

    Re: Zither Piano

    Maybe soniccouture's bowed piano?

  3. #3

    Re: Zither Piano

    Maybe THIS http://www.vitalartsmedia.com/plectrum.html is what you´re looking for. Not quite cheap though
    Best regards

  4. #4

    Re: Zither Piano

    Thanks guys.
    Nayi, I probably should have mentioned that the Bowed Piano is one library I do have - it's fantastic, but does a completely different job than what I'm after.

    In case anyone else responds I also have Michiel Post's Prepared Piano, from way back, and all the freebie prepared pianos out there.

    Raindog, that may just be it. I'll have to investigate a bit further - it doesn't make clear whether you can play a strum from the keyboard, or whether each key triggers a pre-performed strum. Sounds like a great library anyway though.

  5. #5

    Re: Zither Piano

    i'd be interested in a library like this as well. i've done some limited recording of different piano playing methods.
    rough example here: http://www.vimeo.com/2576145
    i played the dulcimer-like notes with a mallet on piano strings. i've also done some recording with painter's tape across the strings, and even have an entire piano harp (removed from a baldwin student model) sitting in my studio with the intention of turning it into some strange giant dulcimer.
    making a full library of any of this would be extremely difficult though, and is pretty low on my list of priorities.

    this guy makes some great esoteric sample sets (i'm sure you've heard of them tho):

    and (veering off topic) this guy makes some of the best prepared piano music i've heard:

  6. #6

    Re: Zither Piano

    I've been looking for something like this for years. I have Plectrum, and it has its uses, but the sounds - or the programming - are a little bland.

    Awhile ago I decided to try sampling a piano myself, using fingertips, sticks, mallets, etc. It's fairly backbreaking work, at least in the less-than-optimal conditions I recorded under. But I got some interesting results when I programmed the samples into my Emu E5000 Ultra sampler. I detuned and panned them with a lot of velocity layering.

    Here's a little example of how it sounds:


    I really wish someone, maybe Doug and Nick at EastWest, would create a library expanding on these ideas. Can you imagine what they could do? Just one idea: create a patch with the string courses detuned in order to produce a shimmering effect like gamelan instruments. I'd be first in line for such a library.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA

    Re: Zither Piano

    Richard ...

    That's very cool!


  8. #8

    Re: Zither Piano

    Plectrum is a really cool library. You get strum, struck, plucked piano instruments. Also lots of other imaginative sounds. Worth the purchase!

  9. #9

    Re: Zither Piano

    plectrum looks pretty cool, but is it just me or is there no comprehensive instrument list? the most i found is an outline in the FAQ.

    i've been continuing to experiment with different ways of abusing my piano (note: if you're going to be bowing, skip the horse hair and use fishing line). i'd love to put together some sample sets but...my piano is an upright, and thus i'm really limited as to what/how i can play it. taping the strings is easy, but hammering and bowing the strings is limited to to what i can reach and the timbre is limited as well as i can't get to the middle of the strings.

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