French Horn and Tuba completes the Samplemodeling Brass series. Horn gestation was a long one. The real French Horn is a difficult instrument. The player must do many simultaneous things like holding appropriate lip tension, raising the soft palette, positioning the tongue, lowering the larynx, blowing air into the instrument, and pressing the valves while holding the other hand in the bell. We wanted our virtual French Horn to be much easier to play. :-) Reaching this aim, at the same time retaining expressiveness and realism, proved to be a most difficult task. The results are however outstanding.
Horn repertoire spaces from classical orchestral, to chamber, jazz, pop and contemporary music, both as a solo instrument and in choir. In the latter case the extended range of the horn provides the composer or arranger with more possibilities, sonically, registrally, contrapuntally. Due to the "heroic" quality of its sound, the French Horn is often used in film music, solo or in ensemble, even playing in unison. Four horns are often used for this purpose.
The Tuba is the largest brass instrument. It is used in symphony orchestras, usually as one instrument. It is the principal bass instrument in symphonic and military bands, and it serves as the bass of a brass section, and as reinforcement for the bass voices of the strings and woodwinds, and is also used even as a solo instrument.
French Horn and Tuba further expand Samplemodeling™ technologies. In addition to the renowned "Harmonic Alignment", yielding continuous transition across virtually infinite dynamics, multi-microphone anechoic recording, coupled to specially devised "early reflections" impulse responses, allow to reproduce the full, rich timbre of the instruments, including its radiation pattern, adding at the same time a virtual space to the anechoic sound. The programming moves further away from conventional libraries, by exploiting physically-oriented modulation of the recorded sound. This yields the characteristic crescendo pattern of French Horns, typical brass flutter on transitions, or even the "watery" sound, knocks, breath noise, and metallic resonances from the bell and the body of the instrument, greatly contributing to realism.
The package includes four different French Horns and a Tuba. The base material of the instruments consists of 260 MB of samples, chromatically performed by professional players over a very wide dynamic range. All samples are unlooped, and have a minimum duration of 9 sec. As in the "The Trumpet" and "The Trombone" the musical engine is structured according to an adaptive model, based on the performance "fingerprints" of the real instrument. The purpose of the model is to minimize the differences between the real phrases and those played by the virtual instrument.
Pseudo-random detuning and natural pitch and dynamics modulation, based on real performance-derived trends, are outstanding features of these new instruments, adding further realism.
Advanced "Artificial Intelligence" MIDI processing techniques are used for real time construction of all articulations and morphing across dynamics, vibrato, legato, portamento, trills, flutter tongue, vibrato-like endings, shakes and so forth.
Special consideration has been given to creation of realistic ensembles from solo instruments, whether driven form separate midi tracks or when playing unison. An advanced "ensemble maker" has been developed, affecting timing, static and dynamic pitch evolution, phase, response to dynamics, pitchbend, velocity, portamento times, in such a way that each instrument of the ensemble sounds as if driven from a different track even if played in unison. Unlike conventional ensemble libraries, any articulation will always sound different, yet real. A ready-to-use Multi, including four specially devised French Horns, suitable for unison playing, along with an appropriate convolution reverb is included in the package.
An entirely new feature of French Horn and Tuba is microtuning, to better cope with other, non-tempered scales – so essential in, for example, Middle Eastern and Asian music. Our approach to microtuning yields maximal flexibility, allowing user-defined scales, where the extent of detuning (range +60/-60 cents) can be precisely set for each note by means of a sliding bar. The scale can be saved and recalled as a preset.
In addition, selective detuning can be applied to individual notes in realtime. by using third-level keyswitches, similar to those used for split portamenti, falls and doits. In this case, all notes are detuned by a predetermined amount (up to +/-60 cents), which may set and modified by the user.
The currently detuned notes are now displayed in the GUI, as in the example below.
The French Horn and Tuba package is supplied with the NI Kontakt Player 4.2, the read-only version of Native Instruments flagship sampler. It involves many new features and bugfixes, including 64 bit, extended memory and multicore support, DFD optimisation, better compliance with some OS and hosts, aftertouch support etc. The Player is included as a separate installer, and no additional software is required to play the instrument. Stand-alone mode, as well as plugin formats VST, DXi, RTAS and AU are supported.
The instruments can be also loaded and played in the full version of Kontakt 4.2, as well as with the most recent Kontakt 5.0 Please note, however, that they cannot be opened or modified, and no access to the samples, impulse responses or instrument programming is provided.
It is well known that midi keyboards have different and uneven velocity response, and this may heavily influence the performance of a virtual instrument. To obviate this problem, the instrument includes automatic detection of any velocity inhomogeneities or non-linearity inherent in the keyboard, and provides automatic remapping to any desired curve.
GUI Knobs /Controller Remapping
All the controllers needed for proper functioning of the instrument are mapped to virtual knobs in three GUI panels, which can be activated by a drop down menu. The function of each controller is indicated by the associated label. The virtual knobs permit to monitor the incoming midi data, but can also be used to directly control the instrument. This allows users of keyboards without physical MIDI controllers or knobs, to explore the expressive capabilities of The French Horn and Tuba. Additionally, all the controllers can be remapped to any existing MIDI CC.
An outstanding feature, allowing to create real time articulations which are too difficult to perform with the usual interplay of expression pedal, pitchbend and modwheel. Sforzato, crescendo, slide effects, vibrato-like endings and different types of release, can be obtained by hitting one or more keyswitches. The intensity of the effect, and its duration, are under player's control. Please note that these are not just sampled articulations, but they are sample-modeled, indeed. This means that each time each of them will sound slightly different. No machine-gun nor mechanical repetitions here.
Split Portamenti, Falls & Doits
A real French Horn or Tuba may play different types of legato/portamento The sound is different, since a different harmonic resonance is excited. This is perfectly reproduced by our adaptive model. One may choose to perform a continuous portamento over two octaves by simply overlapping two notes, to split it manually playing intermediate legato notes, or to split it automatically, exploiting the natural harmonic resonances of the instrument, by a keyswitch. One can also choose to perform chromatically-split portamento or realistic falls and doits.
Breath & Windcontroller mode
Playing The French Horn and The Tuba with either a keyboard plus breath controller, or directly with a windcontroller (Yamaha or Akai) is very easy. Breath & Windcontroller modes automatically load proper CC settings, enable triggering of note-on and off with the expression controller, optimize the pitch response for the individual WC, etc.
Mutes and special effects
French Horn and Tuba – like other brass instruments – can be played with mutes. The most common mutes are Brass Stop and Wooden Straight for the French Horn, and Straight mute for the Tuba All these mutes, along with special effects like metallic resonances from the bell and the body of the French Horn, are available for use with these instruments.. We used sophisticated technologies to capture the "fingerprints" of each mute, which were ultimately coded into a suitable impulse response. The latter can be instantly loaded from a drop down menu of the graphical interface, or via MIDI.
All samples in The French Horn and Tuba are mapped according to standard MIDI note numbers. This is very convenient when using a sequencer. On the other hand, keyboard users might run into trouble when playing low notes. Even if using a seven-octave keyboard, transposing the midi flow two octaves down is the only way to make these instruments playable. This is what the Transpose knob does, namely transposing keys and keyswitches at the same time, without the need to bother with keyboard programming.
Windows 7, Vista or XP, 32 or 64 bit
Intel only, Mac OS 10.5, 10.6 or 10.7
. The French Horn & Tuba, like the other Samplemodeling instruments (The Trumpet, The Trombone and the Sax family) provides unprecedented realism and expressiveness. However, it's a demanding software in terms of CPU load. A modern PC or Mac with at least 1,6 GHz Core2Duo CPU, a low latency audio hardware, MIDI or USB interface, and appropriate drivers using a buffer size of 256 to 512, are strongly recommended.
Less powerful systems may also prove satisfactory, but may require larger buffer sizes, involving higher latencies, and may even reduce the amount of simultaneously playable instruments down to 1.
Note: This may not represent a real problem though. Using the freeze feature or bouncing the single MIDI tracks to audio is a useful remedy.
. A five-octave midi keyboard, mappable from C-2 to C5, with pitchwheel, modwheel, and an expression pedal or breath controller, constitute the minimum requirements for real time playing. Six-octave keyboards with several mappable physical midi controllers and a sustain pedal, or a windcontroller, are recommended for full exploitation of the expressiveness of the instrument.
. If real time playing is not contemplated (you will miss a great fun though), using a sequencer may obviate the need for several physical midi controllers, while maintaining full control of the instrument expressiveness. French Horn & Tuba have been thoroughly tested on several sequencers, including Cubase, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, Logic and Sonar.
VST or RTAS, 32 or 64 bit
AU or VST, 32 or 64 bit
(For more details please refer to Kontakt 4.2 (or 5) specifications on the Native Instruments site)
The French Horn & Tuba package includes:
Four French Horns, characterized by slightly different timbre, attack, vibrato & portamento behaviour, suitable for solo and ensemble playing. The playing range corresponds to that of a top professional player, i.e. A0 - G4. (C3 = middle C).
Four additional French Horns, specially devised for ensemble unison playing.
A ready to use Multi for ensemble unison playing, including four French Horns and a suitable ambience / convolution reverb.
A Tuba, covering the range of the whole tuba family from Contrabass Tuba to F Tuba, i.e. from C0 to F3.
The retail price of The French Horn & Tuba package is EUR 149 (+ VAT, if applicable). Bundles and special offers may be available on the buy page.
The new Samplemodeling Brass bundle, Including the Trumpet, The Trombone and The French Horn & Tuba packages, constitutes a very special offer. The retail price is Eur 359 (+VAT if applicable), corresponding to a 20% discount on the individually purchased items.
Yes. Immediately after installation of the software, you need to activate it via Internet, using the Service Center utility supplied with the Kontakt software. Without activation the instrument(s) will appear on a black background and will not work. The activation process is very easy, though, and is carried out in a few seconds.
Yes. Please click on the “buy” link on top of the page.
French Horn and Tuba is the result of a many-year research carried out by Giorgio Tommasini and Peter Siedlaczek, who also performed all the recordings. The K4 script was written by Nils Liberg, and Giorgio Tommasini.
Tomasz Binkowski, Henryk Kowalewicz and Arkadiusz Wiedlak (recording session players) for their skill, patience and professionalism, Maciej Mulawa and Sandalo Giordano for their wonderful demos, Nils Liberg for his incredible script programming, Roberto Soggetti, Samy Cheboub, and all our great beta testers for their valuable help and cooperation.