woodland piano

The woodland piano is a multi-layered and multi-miked instrument with four playable articulations (normal, felt, muted, and plucked) and several release triggers and pedal sounds

The story

– As of 22.04.22, the woodland piano is on version 1.0.1 –
4.57GB download link up on my website (without raw samples)

I am a big fan of pianos that speak with more than just their melodic notes. I’ve enjoyed the works of Sigur Rós for many years, and in more recent years Ólafur Arnalds as well. One thing they both manage exceptionally well in my view is the relation between the music and the noises around it. Ólafur Arnalds has beautifully detailed piano sounds in his work, and they all feature all of the creaks and moving wooden parts of the instrument. So I wanted to capture that in a piano as well.

So for my go at it I recorded the piano with seven microphones (three stereo set-ups shown in the walkthrough video below) up close and with multiple articulations – normal, felt, muted, and plucked (normal and felt feature four velocity layers, and along with muted notes feature samples in pedal up and down) + release triggers and pedal sounds. These different mic positions and articulations are important for me because not only do they add a good degree of flexibility within the same instrument, but they also explore some of the different sounds that you can get from the piano.

I attached the woodland theme to the piano early on, as for me it was a nice connection between the natural wood of the piano and the sounds it produces.

With the UI I wanted to create a nice woodland-inspired world with the background and the sliders to the right, but also the digital aspect of controlling these elements through a computer. This is why every time you’re controlling something from the piano itself (articulations and respective volumes) you’re interacting with a tree-related object. When you’re controlling something related to the digital/recording aspect of the instrument (microphone volumes and stereo width), it’s all digital sliders. I think the two interact in an interesting visual pair.

– Tech Info –

The woodland piano is a Yamaha upright recorded at 96k 24bit, using seven microphones for three different close mic positions.

Microphones used:
– Three Neumann KM184 over the hammers on the top of the piano in a wide AB stereo configuration featuring a center channel.
– Two Schoeps MK4 just above the center of the instrument, pointing at the hammers in a slightly narrower AB.
– Two AKG C414 XL II just below the MK4s, again pointing at the hammers in the same AB spread as the MK4s.

For my workaround to trigger Release Triggers during sustain pedal press, please refer to the video walkthrough below at 3:46

patch 1.0.1 - noise build-up fix on quiet normal layer

a day out - woodland piano contextual demo

Interface

Reviews for woodland piano

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • Amazing work - beautiful

    The depth is sublime.. and I really admire you dedication to this work.. To be applauded. the size is no matter.
    7 microphones!

    Matthew28 April 2022
  • A HUGE piano, with a nice character

    This is a very detailed and charming piano, with an incredible and very inspirational character. I liked it so much that it inspired me to (at last) start my improv Pianobook highlight series.

    The piano plays very nicely, and there are many options to choose from, including different mics, and separated volume "sliders" to control the various noises. You can also blend in or completely separate different articulations and sound signatures, including Felt, Muted and Plucked. It would be nice though if there were smaller individual patches for each articulation.

    With that said, despite the MASSIVE 18.3GB size when uncompressed, you can still hear some noise if you manage to hold many notes with the sustain pedal, but barely noticable.

    It's a great piano though, so if you can afford such a hefty size in your drive, you should definitely check it out.

    Alex Raptakis21 April 2022
  • Exceptionally Musical Piano

    If you can download this instrument i think you should. Brilliantly recorded and well put togther as an instrument this piano exudes empathetic woody tones inspiring lots of musical ideas especially when played at the softer levels. The GUI is lovely and the design of the instrument is well thought out. On the negative side the controls are a little finnicky to set just right but to be fair this is often true of kontakt instruments. There was a (super 3k) noise issue on sustain samples which has now been addressed through update. All in all this is and exceptionally musical instrument which deserves much praise and I hope the creator continues to carve out a niche for themselves in the online instrument economy. I might even have to reconsider my moratorium on tipping.

    thebutlerdeclines22 April 2022
  • Really nice piano! But a few little things

    The piano overall is really really cool but the amount of space the actual instrument takes up is mindboggling. i think there could possibly be a little bit of noise in the keys. just a slight bit. other than that this piano is definitely one of my favorites!

    PolarIce21 April 2022