The story

I wanted a tagelharpa / bowed lyre sound for some Nordic-themed projects, and didn’t have access to the instrument or any samples that sounded appropriate. I did however have a violin bow and a big, droney, resonant instrument with steel strings. So I decided to sample my Irish bouzouki, loosening the strings to get the natural bassy sounds, and sampling both short ‘chops’ and long, sustained bows, retuning and then capoing at intervals for the higher notes. I think it does a good imitation of the gritty, earthy tone I was looking for in a tagelharpa. There is a clicking noise in some of the long samples which is not an artifact, but the sound of the bow itself hitting the strings or body – consider this a ‘warts and all’ instrument. There is also some variation in articulation in the short RRs, particularly the highest note, so certain RRs will work better if used as accented beats, which might require some tweaking / programming. An optional Legato script is bypassed by default, but can be activated ‘under the hood’ by clicking the Bypass off, which should reveal a bunch of legato controls. I recommend the ‘Cello 2’ preset as a starting point. I think the sustained notes have the potential to be used as a cool pad – particularly if manipulated so the actual bowing noise is removed and only the resonant sustain retained. But that is out of my realm, so I hope someone with expertise in the area will feel inclined and welcome to do something useful with it. I included a ‘pad beta’ patch with the note starts of the long notes moved to after the bowing as a starting point.

Reviews for Bowzouki

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Amazing!

    This is so awesome for free. Matter in fact, it offers a sound that neither Groth, Asgard, nor Dark Era provide. Excellent work!

    Jake01 April 2023
  • Awesome. But need MORE of this!

    Wish there was a lot more inside. Round-robins, super-long textures, etc. But still - great instrument!

    The Power Is Ultra22 April 2022
  • A fantastic idea

    This is actually an amazing idea that I would really want to see fully fleshed out. Currently it seems like it's not completely done, since there are some minor quirks that might get on your way. For example, the notes are very short, the playable range is rather small, and there is some noticable noise every now and then, which gets more prominent in lower register.

    Alex Raptakis24 January 2022
  • Give me more

    Nice idea but the instrument is lacking features to make it more usable for me. It would be nice to have a bigger range and possibly longer notes. Even if you had to bow back and forth a few time on one string, I think it could create some great textures when played as a chord.