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Topic: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

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  1. #1

    AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA


    MEG Autoharp by Oscar Schmidt circa early 1970's

    Above is the Autoharp I've had since the early 1970's. It's in excellent condition. I've sampled it thoroughly, and programmed an Autoharp virtual instrument for the Garritan ARIA Player. It's the most complex SFZ instrument I've so far put together.

    FEATURES:

    --528 24 bit samples.

    --All 127 MIDI notes - 10 1/2 octaves of sound.

    --SEVEN ARTICULATION LAYERS for each chord.

    --Release samples on all chords.

    --Pick noise controlled by Mod Wheel.

    --Automatic damping noise controlled by Sustain Pedal.

    --Three octaves of single notes plus alternates.

    --Six octaves of chords.

    --Open string strums for atmospheric pads.

    --Other effects - key noises, plucks, etc.

    Here's an MP3 montage with five segments, demonstrating the Autoharp as a rhythm instrument, as a melodic instrument, and in ensemble with other instruments:

    AUTOHARP DEMO

    Click below for more demos, more information and the download link to MIDI files, MP3s, a manual featuring a detailed keyboard map of the samples, and the folder with the SFZ file and samples:

    AUTOHARP INFO AND DOWNLOAD INFORMATION*

    Please notice the Pay Pal button at the Autoharp website. After using that, you will be sent the download links within 24 hours. Thanks.

    This is a very detailed virtual instrument, making for a substantially sized folder of data. The Zip file is 217 MB, unzipped size is 233 MBs. The manual includes the simple installation instructions.

    Though the Autoharp is used most often in folk and country music, I feel it would also add an interesting texture to other musical genres.

    This has been my full time project for two weeks. I put it together for you, members of the Garritan Forum. Now I hope some of you investigate the Autoharp and come up with some music using it.

    I look forward to hearing some Autoharp music!

    *as of 6/14, downloads are only possible after using the PayPal donation button.

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Thank you Randy! I will indeed download this and install it on my laptop as we speak!
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Well done, Randy. I have downloaded and played around a bit with the autoharp. It sounds quite authentic. It will take me a while to get it down well enough to know what I am doing, but I suspect a recorder or two may go well with it.

  4. #4

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Great, you guys - Glad you're trying it out.

    There is a lot there, so be sure to look over the manual's notes, and keep the keyboard mapping guide handy. You can do a fair amount recording in real time since the most commonly needed sounds are available on a standard 5 octave keyboard, but to get the most out of it really does take multiple recording passes - shifting octaves to access all the sounds, adding CC1 and Aftertouch, and so forth. And then hand editing in the PRV. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to use the pedal a lot, to avoid an unnatural cut off of the chords.

    Have fun!--and thanks for going for it.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Tremendous, Randy! Thank you so much. I have to try this -- my friend Marc Gunn, formerly of the Brobdingnagian Bards, is a killer on autoharp.
    Best,
    Tom Smith
    www.tomsmithonline.com

  6. #6

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Quote Originally Posted by filkertom View Post
    Tremendous, Randy! Thank you so much. I have to try this -- my friend Marc Gunn, formerly of the Brobdingnagian Bards, is a killer on autoharp.
    Hi, Tom - Glad you're interested in the Autoharp.

    And thanks for the link to Marc's site - wow - I've only started to look around there, but I have the sneaking suspicion that my virtual instrument won't quiiiiite turn anyone into a Marc Gunn. But at least it's more complete and flexible than some samples you might get in a collection that may include a few Autoharp strums.

    - I also have the feeling that a virtuoso like Marc would probably groan over the idea of someone turning his favorite instrument into a soft synth - BUT, there it is.

    It was a really absorbing project, putting this together. Now I hope some folks have fun putting together some music projects with it, and hope that includes you, Tom!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    TIPS on using the Autoharp.

    Here are some things included in the manual - you know, that thing that it's boring to take a look at -

    I just want to make sure these crucial things are understood by anyone trying the Autoharp out.

    Sustain Pedal (CC64) is essential to use when playing a rhythm on the same chord. That simulates the way the strings continue to resonate as you strum the Autoharp. Then of course you need to release the pedal (CC64 OFF event) when you switch chords.

    Pitch Bend is also essential when you're strumming on a chord. That's the way you engage the various articulations for a chord, keeping up a variety of strums. It's easy to aim the Pitch Bend Wheel for these samples. The hot spots are:

    ---All the way to the left.
    ---Anywhere left of center, but not all the way left.
    ---Center
    ---Anywhere right of center, but not all the way right.
    ---All the way right.

    So that makes your target areas very simple to hit. You don't have to do any painstaking, careful placement of the wheel's position.

    If you don't have a Pitch Bend Wheel, it's just as easy to insert the values needed in your program's MIDI editor (Piano Roll View.)

    A way to work which is mentioned in the manual's Notes section - It can be easier to first record your rhythm, using the two octaves of samples for each chord, rocking back and forth to avoid triggering the same sample twice in a row. And then go back over the same MIDI clip, recording or inserting the Pitch Bend to add a variety of strums, and CC1 (Pick noise) and AfterTouch (alternate samples) if you're using those controls in a given passage. Using your keyboards octave shift buttons is also something more easily done on another recording pass over the same section.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    A big THANK YOU to the Autoharp user who availed himself of the PayPal button at the Autoharp download page. It's much appreciated that by making the donation, you've shown that you're finding the instrument useful.

    The PP button was my wife's idea. When she saw me working non-stop on the instrument for 2 weeks, she insisted that I set up some way of being compensated. I'm glad she convinced me to do that.

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    This seems exactly the sound I'm looking for on a recent project I'm working on. Thanks Randy! I'll post when it's a bit closer to being done.

    I wish I had the skill (and equipment) to sample instruments. It can add such a convincingly realistic touch to any piece when done well.
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  10. #10

    Re: AUTOHARP - a new instrument for ARIA

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael135 View Post
    This seems exactly the sound I'm looking for on a recent project I'm working on. Thanks Randy! I'll post when it's a bit closer to being done.

    I wish I had the skill (and equipment) to sample instruments. It can add such a convincingly realistic touch to any piece when done well.
    Excellent, Michael - I hope the Autoharp works into your project like you're hoping it will. And then, I'd really like to hear what you come up with!

    Randy

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