The French Harpsichord library features a double-manual instrument by renowned French builder Nicolas Pigalle. The instrument – built in Dijon in 1771 – features an “enchanting sound with singing clarity and a substantial bass”, as Professor Beur-mann explains. These qualities – along with its huge tone which also manages to bring out its deli-cate, sophisticated finesse and detail – make it is an excellent representation of the French style. “It is one of only two surviving harpsichords from Dijon, a city once so rich in musical tradition, the other also being by Pigalle.”, he continues.
Despite its age of almost 250 years, the harpsichord still remains in excellent condi-tion. It is now available for the first time in the sampler with the French Harpsichord library, presented in its original Valotti-tuning at 383 Hz. Based on its two manuals and different registers, the Pigalle harpsichord offers lots of unqiue sounds, sampled with 5 different register combinations, including the upper 8´, lower 8´ (principal 8´), the 4´, both 8´ as well as the “tutti” combination of both 8’ registers and the 4’ recorded together.
Like all harpsichords, the instrument is not touch-sensitive in the sense of a piano. However, even if the differences are minuscule, not any given note will sound exactly the same due to different resonances of body and strings.
Until now, many keyboards and samplers represented harpsichords by always triggering off the exact same digital sample, leaving a cold and sterile sounding impression. In order to improve upon previous recreations and to pay tribute to the liveliness and depth of this antique instrument, we captured 8 variations of each note (4’ register: 4 variations of each note).
The release sounds of the keys are also of major importance: What was originally side noise is now often overlooked and even simply left out in artifical simulations, resulting in a very abstract overall picture. Therefore, we recorded 4 release samples of each note.
The sample library consists of more than 3400 single samples.
To start right away, presets are available for all common sample formats including HAlion®, Kontakt2® and higher, EXS24® and GigaStudio3®.
For the critical task of recording the harpsichord, we employed custom-made Wag-ner™ U47w® tube microphones in conjunction with Crane Song™ Flamingo® pre-amps and Universal Audio™ 2192® digital converters to do the instrument justice. For maximum sound quality, we recorded in 192 khz/24 bits resolution, downsampled to 44.1 khz/24 bits.
In addition to the samples, the library contains an essay in English from Professor Andreas E. Beurmann himself, explaining both the historical and musical background of the instrument.