Vienna Symphonic Library has released the latest Vienna Instruments collection, Special Keyboards (Mac/Win; $385). The 8 GB collection offers harpsichord, harmonium, and prepared piano.
Two manual harpsichords were recorded, with single notes and repetition performances as follows: 8-foot register solo, 8-foot double, and tutti (a combination of two 8-foot registers and one 4-foot register).
As a free-reed instrument, the harmonium sounds when when air streams past reeds of different lengths, causing 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 such as erasers, nails, wire, and paper are inserted between a piano''s strings in deliberate places, in order to produce additional tones, harmonics, and percussive sounds.
Like all Vienna Instruments collections, the Special Keyboards collection ships in VST and AU formats and works as a standalone instrument. But unlike other Vienna Instruments collections, there are no Standard and Extended Library options; Special Keyboards includes the full sets of samples along with the software instrument.
For more information, visit www.vsl.co.at.