We present here the main Pianoteq sound features that illustrate the great flexibility but also the beautiful sounds offered by physical modelling. Many of these features are unique and original inventions by MODARTT.
Sympathetic resonance When undamped strings respond to other string vibrations, it results in sympathetic resonance, here slightly exaggerated and revealing a silently depressed chord C2-E2-G2-Bb2.
Sustain pedal resonance Listen to how the sympathetic resonance of all strings brings vividness to the piano sound. Here the sustain pedal is depressed during the whole sequence.
Duplex scale resonance In an acoustic piano there are undamped string parts, called duplex scales, which come into resonance. In this example (exaggerated) staccatos are revealing these duplex scales.
Sound variation in repetition Repeated notes show a variation in sound as the hammer strikes the strings differently when they are in motion. Pianoteq reproduces this effect demonstrated here.
Buzzing in the bass Strong strokes on the copper-wounded bass strings produce an irregular buzzing sound.
Sustain pedal off/on We listen here alternatively to the sustain pedal off/on. When pressing down the sustain pedal of an acoustic piano, the dampers are lifted, resulting in a sympathetic resonance of all the strings.
Pedal catch/repedalling When the dampers come back in contact with the strings, the string vibrations do not stop immediately. If the sustain pedal is depressed a very short time after, which is called pedal catch (or repedalling if done several times), then the strings are still vibrating a little.
Partial pedal If you depress the sustain pedal only partially on an acoustic piano, the dampers will stay partially in contact with the strings. The vibrations are then partially damped. This is called partial pedalling (also known as half pedalling). Digital pianos which are equipped with a progressive (continuous) sustain pedal, can achieve the same effect with Pianoteq.
Unison detuning (large) The unison width adjusts the frequency variation within each unison, changing sound character. Greatly increased, it produces the honky tonk sound ('U4 Honky Tonk' preset).
Unison detuning (small) With a smaller detuning, you can hear some slow beatings between the strings. Increasing here the unison width progressively to 1, 2, 3.
Temperament The temperament has not always been equal. Here equal temperament (first) is compared to Werckmeister III temperament on the Walter pianoforte.
Voicing Important changes can be made to the sound by changing the hammer hardness. This example demonstrates soft, medium and hard hammers.
Overtones Changing the weight of each overtone can produce some dramatic changes as illustrated by this example.
Hammer noise The hammer noise can be adjusted separately, softer and then stronger in this example.
Una Corda (soft) pedal Comparison without vs. with soft pedal. Modification in phase and direct/after sound contributions in each unison induces subtle changes in the sound.
Soundboard impedance The soundboard impedance is related to its dimension (thickness, width) as well as to the quality of the wood (elasticity, weight). It has a great influence on the sound duration. Here default impedance followed by higher impedance.
String length The inharmonicity of a string varies with its length (and also with its diameter, tension and material). We listen to a virtual piano of size 1.60 m, then 2.7 m, and finally 10 m.
Extended range Some of the Pianoteq virtual grand pianos (D4, K1, C3,...) offer an extended keyboard range of 105 keys, down to A-2 and up to F7 (normal range is from A-1 to C7).
Strike point In instruments like cimbalom, vibraphone, xylophone, etc., the strike point is controlled by the musician, contrarily to the piano where it is fixed by the manufacturer. We illustrate here how Pianoteq allows this control taking as example the cimbalom, ancestor of the piano. First 'normal' position, then one third of the string length.
Mallet bounce The mallet bounce effect can be used with the cimbalom as illustrated here, as well as with any other Pianoteq instrument.
Pickup symmetry In an electro-acoustic piano, the pickup is not exactly in front of the tone source at rest. When it is exactly in front, due to the symmetry of the device, the note jumps one octave higher. Here we listen to normal position, then almost symmetric position (slider at 0.8).
Pickup distance When the pickup is moved closer to the tone source, the sound becomes more distorted and the timbre variation between soft and loud sounds increases. We listen to a normal and then to a closer position.
Clavinet pickups The clavinet contains two sets of pickups, positioned above and below the strings. We listen here to the four standard configurations of these pickups: AC, BC, AD, BD.
Wah-wah Wah-wah is a very spectacular effect, auto-wah used here with the clavinet.
Tremolo The tremolo is commonly used on vibraphones and electric pianos. Demonstrated here with the Vintage Tines.
Chorus and flanger Various presets of chorus and flanger are illustrated in this short piece. Switching from one preset to another produces sometimes some interesting sounds too.
Combo amp A combo amp is included in the effects section. An overdriven amp is demonstrated here.
Pitch bend The sound can be altered using pitch control, creating variable glissandos in real time. The bend range can be adjusted up to +/-600 cents.
Convolution reverb Pianoteq is equipped with a convolution reverb. Three examples: 'Clean Studio', 'Large Hall', and finally the extreme and impressive 'Taj Mahal'.
Effect demonstration Here is a demonstration of how powerful and flexible Pianoteq can be in the hands of a sound designer. Created exclusively with a heavily edited Pianoteq Concert Harp in Pianoteq Pro, using mainly Pianoteq's built-in effects.