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#2008949 - 01/04/13 12:47 PM Software harpsichord
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Dorset, UK
OK, maybe a minority interest, but having recently bought my first DP (Kawai ES7 since you ask) after a lifetime of APs and "real" harpsichords, I am content for the moment with the piano sounds, although I will probably go the software piano route eventually. However, the ES7 "harpsichord" sound is unrealistic. No surprise there.

Firstly, having heard the demos, I may opt for the "Dutch" (shouldn't that be "Flemish?") software harpsichord from Edition Beurmann. Any experience of this out there?

Secondly, whilst I think I understand the principles of software pianos, I'm not sure how harpsichords work. I can send down a midi file and the piano software converts it to a Steinway or whatever, in real time so I can hear it as I play and/or saving it to a file (MP3 or whatever)as a music recording. How does a software harpsichord work? I play the first part of a piece, intending it to be on the lower 8, play the second part, intending it to be on the upper 8 etc etc. On a "real" harpsichord a mere flick of a hand lever or push/pull on the lower keyboard provides instant changes of colour. Is it possible to synchronise settings on the ES7 to do this in real time, or is it only possible to store the midi file and then instruct the software to "change" the registration at each point, (fortunately period performance practice limits registration changes to repeats/rondeaus etc) then re-save. The latter would mean a less than enjoyable playing experience but hopefully a rewarding post-playing experience.

Any thoughts/experience of this? I guess the same issue applies to software organs.


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#2009340 - 01/05/13 08:49 AM Re: Software harpsichord [Re: sandalholme]
Vectistim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 318
Loc: Reading, UK
If you want to be changing registration on a virtual harpsichord (or organ) then Hauptwerk is the way to go.

There are various free instruments available and a free version of the software (for home use only).

You can then change registration my clicking on the PC screen or setting up buttons on your keyboard (if available) or a midipad, or something similar.

So, as well as my digital piano, I also have a Behringer UMX-61 to provide me with a rather DIY two manual organ, than has a load of midi buttons that can be preset to send certain signals.

#2009343 - 01/05/13 08:58 AM Re: Software harpsichord [Re: sandalholme]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 11660
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
How about the historical instruments available for Pianoteq?

Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

#2009357 - 01/05/13 09:31 AM Re: Software harpsichord [Re: sandalholme]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4607
Loc: North Carolina
My Clav has a harpsichord voice, but it's not very good.

So I bought Sonivox Harpsichord. It offers a variety of harpsichords, and it operates in standalone mode ... no need to load an instrument into a VST host or into Kontakt, so it's easy to use. It loads quickly and will run on even the most modest PC. I have an older version, and I don't remember how much it cost. Online I see that the new one costs just $30.

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#2009465 - 01/05/13 01:33 PM Re: Software harpsichord [Re: sandalholme]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Sandalhome, I have purchased the same "Dutch" but used it in some very special ways.

The instrument does happen sampled after a very interesting concept, namely with 5 velocity layers. Not primarily to obtain dynamic playability (but this is to some extent there) - volume range is far lesser as with pianos, but the idea behind was to capture the fine timbre nuances of different plucking energies and breaking thereby the monotony otherwise inherent for a one-layer harrpsichord. And in real world some randomness is always present due to the whole comlex physical process of plucking the strings mechanically. I added a 30% ramdomness in the factory velocity script in contact.

This instrument is presented in the Valotti temperament, but I concluded that it is not very precise (exactly 6 pure fifth and the others are equally narrowed.)

So first I retuned the instrument (with the help of the best SW tuner) to the exact Valotti temperament in the Kontakt's Mapping editor then wrote a modified Kontakt tuning script to be able to tune the instrument to any desired temperaments.

I enhanced the script to be able to change temperament by pressing some upper keys on the piano keyboard which are out of range of the harpsichord.

In the same way it should be possible to change instrument/register I think, but some programming work will be needed. (My attempt was not perfected either, because of major health issues last year. I didn't finished retuning of the others but the upper register for the same reason.)

I enhanced the instrument further, because it didn't have sympathetical resonance. I applied the Kontakt script of Mezo Kornel - a very resource-consuming application.

But the result of these effort were very pleasing - but it all is not in a finished state, an for the time being I'll not have time to complete all this.

Forgot to mention: the instrument is lower tuned then the usual baroque pith of 415 Hz, so I had to transpose it. This is a tricky part indeed because of the many temperament transformations (Valotti, corrected, de-Valotti, target temperament + transposing either on MIDI Keyboard and get the correct target temperament), but I am a purist (or at least have an bias to behave so and tried to avoid bigger pitch shiftings of the individual samples because they have a deterioirating effect.

Edited by Temperament (01/07/13 10:51 AM)
Edit Reason: Tranposing
Acoustic: own clavichord!, Burger&Jacoby,Biel (nice vintage vertical)
Digital: CA65; Pianoteq; Sampled:Galaxy VintageD+Vienna(Bösendorfer)
Sampletekk Black,PMI, etc...
Harpsi: Beurmann Dutch+Sampletekk, Clavichord:PMI+Wavelore+organs

#2009829 - 01/06/13 04:11 AM Re: Software harpsichord [Re: sandalholme]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Dorset, UK
Many thanks for the replies/suggestions. Looks as though I have a number of alternatives. Will explore further. I suspect I may well go, eventually, along a similar route to Temperament, as I usually make things complicated! In the meantime I may chose a "cheap and cheerful" way forward: there's all that Couperin, Rameau, Duphly etc sitting in my office begging to be played again. Interesting that Beurmann uses Valotti: this was the tuning I used for my Taskin 1769 copy. Good idea to use keys outside the harpsichord compass to send midi signals to change registration.


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