Hohner Liliput

A German electromechanical reed organ from 1958

The story

My good mate Synthesaurus (https://www.patreon.com/synthesaurus) acquired this beauty at a street sale for a few quid, and upon hearing the sound of the instruments from the YouTube video he made, I asked him whether he would record playing all of the notes of the 2 octaves for me, to which he graciously agreed. Not only that, he even recorded the start sound and noise of the motor that produces the air blown into the internal mechanism of the instrument!
I did not do much processing to the samples he provided me with, as I wanted to retain the original quality of the instrument, the only thing I did was trying to have all of the notes sound homogeneously in terms of volume. The instrument itself actually has a single dynamic layer, but this version I made reacts to velocity.
I hope people will enjoy a journey back in time with this little gem.

The original instrument that was sampled

Reviews for Hohner Liliput

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

  • Electromechanical rules, ok!

    I have a confession. When I cycled to school, my route took me past a fly-tipping area, and it was in this smelly cornucopia of unwanted tat (interspersed with genuine rubbish) that an occasional piece of treasure would grab my attention. So I acquired an old transistor radio, various broken cassette recorders, and several air reed organs made for kids. So the soft purr of air being gently compressed by a little motor, and the strangely evocative soft rise as a reed starts to vibrate, are just pure nostalgia to me! Ah, it takes me back...

    Of course, my Mum made me take the worst examples of rubbish back as well...

    So, you know that I already have a weakness, and this is it. I was transported back more years than I care to think about. At the risk of sounding like I have completely lost my marbles (my Mum threw them away (responsibly!) when I left home), then I also loved the sound of the motor starting up - beautifully recorded, and no need for subtitles!

    I'm wondering if the National Sound Archive should be approached by Pianobook.co.uk, because it seems that, collectively, we are gradually curating high quality samples of a large number of musical instruments of the past! Unfortunately I no longer have my pink plastic encased reed organ toys, although the strength of the metal frames holding the reeds was impressive when I threw them away.

    As I mentioned, there's something about the sound of keys opening valves and letting air blow past metal reeds. And this virtual instrument captures that something very nicely. Having the motor noise as well (and the startup sound!) is the cherry on the... organ! Or is it cake?

    Full ADSR envelope control lets tweakers like me make variations, including fast attack and rapid decay sounds where the initial harmonic evolution of the sound can really be heard. Curiously, reverb sounds out of context to my ears, perhaps because I've never played a reed organ in a reverberant space! ( Just my old bedroom, alongside the tape recorders and the splicing blocks. )

    But delay is a different matter. The juxtaposition of digital perfection with chromatically recorded electromechanical uncertainty is a compelling mixture - and I would, of course, probably ruin it by adding chorus!

    effect type="chorus" mix="0.5" modDepth="0.25" modRate="0.6"/

    (You will need to add chevrons!)

    The Concluding Bit - - - - - - -

    Downloadable nostalgia in my case. For you it may be instant 'atmosphere' and time/place setting. If you need pure immediate historical context for a musical piece, then here it is! And that motor startup sound is just plain gorgeous!

    synthesizerwriter10 August 2022