The timpani, or kettledrum, is the orchestral percussion instrument with the longest tradition. It has been established as a staple of the symphony orchestra since the 17th century. Whereas in the Baroque and Classical period one pair of timpani was the standard, four (or even more) instruments in Romantic and modern works are common. The timpani is one of the rare membranophones with a definite pitch and its tuning requires extremely sensitive hearing. The intensity of performance tasks makes it essential that the timpani part in the orchestra is played by a specialist, the “timpanist”. As opposed to other percussionists who usually change instruments as required by the piece (e.g., bass drum, a-due cymbals, tambourine, triangle) the timpanist focuses on playing the timpani part exclusively.
Requires the ViennaKey.
Drums and toms in their various forms are the most important and rudimentary of percussion instruments. This collection contains snare drums, piccolo drum, field drum (or tenor drum), bass drums, concert toms, roto toms, taiko drums, and tambourines.
The cymbal family consists of the pair (cymbals a-due), the suspended cymbal and the hi-hat. The pair of cymbals and the hi-hat are sounded by striking one plate against the other, while the suspended cymbal is struck with sticks or (felt) mallets. Cymbals are available in different sizes with diameters of 16“ to 22“, and take on various forms and sound characteristics, such as ride cymbals, crash cymbals, splash cymbals, China cymbals or sizzle cymbals. Their distinctive, piercing sound is easily heard over a full fortissimo-playing orchestra. For this reason cymbals are used very economically for punctuating highlights or accents in the music.
With Vienna Jazz Drums, the Vienna Symphonic Library brings a decade of experience in sampling and software development to the art of jazz drumming. Not only did we record single hits using every conceivable drum technique and articulation, we’ve also captured the sonic variety inherent in each instrument by hitting it in multiple places. Want to play from the center of the head to the rim of the shell? Just move the modulation wheel and the variety and liveliness of your performance becomes jaw-dropping. Special attention was given to the ride cymbal, responsible for the characteristic quarter note pulse of many Jazz tunes. Tempo, playing zone, velocity, as well as the number of times the cymbal is hit in the context of the music contribute to the sound of this versatile and sensitive instrument, rendering an absolutely authentic performance. From accompaniment to solos, use Vienna Jazz Drums for swing and latin grooves, big band, bebop and ballads. Good news for Vienna Instrument PRO users: The new Vienna Jazz Drums includes a set of drum loops for the internal Auto Playback and Pattern sequencer (APP) of Vienna Instruments PRO. Don’t miss the Video Tutorial that helps you to start grooving at the touch of a fingertip!
Requires the ViennaKey.
As a “Keyboard Glockenspiel” the celesta has a range of 5 octaves with an interesting dual character. The way its sound is produced makes it a percussion instrument, but it is usually played by a pianist, not a percussionist. The sound of the celesta is soft and “heavenly“ (in French: “céleste”). A famous celesta part can be heard in the Nutcracker Suite of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.
The German name Glockenspiel means “bell play” and refers to the sound of small bells. At the end of the 17th century, the small bells were replaced by steel bars with a key range of about three octaves. The sound of the glockenspiel is very high and piercing and can be clearly heard even through a full orchestra playing in “tutti”. The glockenspiel is very popular and frequently used in majestic brass fanfares (e.g., by composer John Williams).
The Vibraphone is the most mechanically complex and sophisticated of all mallet instruments with a key range of 3 ½ octaves. Its tube resonators and the adjustable electric motor result in a “vibrating” (crescending and decrescending) soft metal sound that takes its inspiration from the human voice. The vibraphone is not only firm favorite in jazz but also in contemporary music, both as a harmonic and melodic instrument.
The Xylophone consists of wooden bars of various lengths that are arranged according to their pitch in scales, very similar to the keys of a piano. Additionally, the modern orchestra xylophone has resonator tubes for each bar, at a range of four octaves. Compared to the marimbaphone, the xylophone has a higher (and narrower) range and its bars are made of a harder wood, resulting in a brighter and more penetrating timbre. In orchestral arrangements, the xylophone commonly emphasizes certain parts of a melodic line in forte or fortissimo.
The marimbaphone (or just “marimba”) consists of wooden bars of various lengths which are arranged according to their pitch in scales, very similarly to the keys of a piano. Compared to the xylophone, the marimbaphone is larger with a key range of five octaves (from bass to alto), and its wood bars are thinner and softer, resulting in a warm and pleasing sound. Since the 1950s it has become a standard instrument in contemporary music.
Tamtams & Gongs features four Tamtams of different sizes (60, 100, and 130 cm diameter). We’ve recorded not only single hits in various velocities, but also tremolos and scratches – these sounds have become very popular in film scoring and sound design. Unlike the tamtams, the gongs have a definite pitch and a knob in the center. You’ll find gongs played with different mallets (soft, wood, metal) and a bow, including rolls and crescendo VOLUME CONTENTS. As a third category, the finger cymbals (low and high) are featured with normal strokes, side strokes, and rubs. With Tamtams & Gongs you’ll bring some exotic flavor to your music!
The oversized tam-tam, with a diameter of more than 65 inches, was treated with all the tricks of the trade, with a special nod to Stockhausen's opus "Mikrophonie". It was struck with metal rods, cardboard and jigsaw blades, hit and rubbed with chains, and manhandled with fly swatters, an egg cutter, and even a massaging rod.
This library features various types of bell and bell substitutes that are used in the orchestra: Tubular bells, plate bells, church bells, hand bells, cowbells (cencerros), burma bells, sleigh bells, altar-boy bells and more. The tubular bells were originally developed as an easily portable substitute for church bells in the orchestra. They are arranged chromatically and cover a range of approx. two octaves. Although their sound was intended to be as close as possible to church bells, this target has never been reached. However, nowadays the timbre of the tubular bells is valued in its own right and particularly useful in the higher register, whereas the lower register is usually covered by the plate bells.
The glass harmonica was invented in 1761. Mozart wrote several pieces for this instrument. The hemispherical glass bowls which rotate around a horizontal axis driven by a pedal were rediscovered only in the last decades of the 19th century. Sounds are produced by touching the rotating glasses with moistened fingertips. Today, the glass harmonica is an absolute rarity, with roughly ten professional players world-wide.
Another rather rarely encountered jewel is the verrophone (from the french word "la verre" for glass). The youngest of the glass instruments was developed only 20 years ago in Germany. Chromatically tuned glass tubes are rubbed with moistened fingers like the musical glasses, but are also struck with mallets. The lingering, atmospheric sound is highly esteemed by modern composers due to its extraordinary intensity.
The musical glasses present one of the oldest forms of making music and sounds with glasses. The instrument consists of several custom-made wine glasses. In order to get different pitches the musical glasses are filled with varying amounts of water. The musical glasses sampled by the Vienna Symphonic Library have a chromatic range from G3 to G6.
The glass instruments are rounded off by the bottles which are blown with VOLUME CONTENTS such as sustains and flutter tonguing.
Sounding stones made of basalt, granite, marble and other minerals were used in many ancient cultures for ceremonial and religious purposes. These days, the lithophone is the most commonly known stone instrument, which Carl Orff first introduced to orchestral arrangements. There are 15 small round slabs of limestone chromatically arranged on rubber pegs. The lithophone recorded by the Vienna Symphonic Library was newly developed at the Technical University of Zurich, and modeled after the marimba. The unmistakable, round stone sound remains prominent over the instrument's nearly five octave range.
The bass waterphone is an unusual, evocative instrument with a diameter of 14 inches and considerably larger than the waterphone used in the Vienna Instruments Percussion Collection. Its larger number of sounding rods, their increased length, the larger opening as well as the bigger resonating body with more water, furnish the musician with more unusual sonic possibilities and a wider variety of colors.
Exotic Percussion features percussion instruments from various cultures and regions: Glass chimes, metal crotales, Japanese singing bowls (wood and rubber), log drum, spring drum, ocean drum, castanets, rails, various car honks, ratchets, whip, hammer, thunder sheet and wind machine. These percussion sounds will enrich your orchestral scores, dance tracks or ambient soundscapes with exotic flavors and can be a real source of inspiration.
The ViennaKey is a USB protection device by eLicenser (formerly Syncrosoft) and is required to run any of the Vienna products (including Instrument Collections, Special Editions, Single Instruments, and Vienna Symphonic Library software).
The ViennaKey is not included and must be purchased separately. If you already have another eLicenser USB protection device (e.g., from Steinberg or Arturia), you may use it for Vienna products, too. Otherwise we recommend ordering a ViennaKey together with your first Vienna Symphonic Library purchase.
This beautiful poster produced by the Vienna Symphonic Library will be a gorgeous, yet
practical addition to your studio.