Italian Harpsichord - Edition Beurmann

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The Italian Harpsichord library contains a historical harpsichord built in 1579 by Pierluigi in Livorno. Sharing its tonal qualities for almost half a millenium, it is a classic example of how Italian harpsichords were built for about 200 years.

Compared to its Dutch and English siblings, the Pierluigi harpsichord stands out due to its light and simple design (one 8' register) and mostly because of its fundamental, sonorous warm and deep tone.


Pierluigi harpsichord - photo by Andreas E. Beurmann

Like all harpsichords, the Pierluigi is not touch-sensitive in the sense of a piano. However, 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 triggering off the exact same digital sample per key every time, leaving a 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. The key release sounds 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 instrument in the collection of Andreas Beurmann still remains in well-playable condition despite its age. The Italian Harpsichord library delivers the instrument, presented in its original meantone tuning at 383 Hz (presets in 440 Hz are included as well).

In addition to the samples, the library contains an essay in German by Dr. Andreas Beurmann, explaining both the historical and musical background of the instrument. The harpsichord features a so-called "short octave" in the lowest range, assigning some keys to lower notes and thus giving the instrument an extended range in the bass (at the cost of other bass notes).

The sample library contains nearly 550 single recordings.

Presets are included for HAlion®, Kontakt® (full version required) and EXS24® software samplers.

For recording, we employed tube-driven Royer™ R122V® ribbon microphones with Crane Song™ Flamingo® preamps and Universal Audio™ 2192® digital converters. We recorded the samples at 192 kHz/24 bits, downsampled to your resolution of choice.

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Additional product information

Samplerate 44.1 kHz
Format Kontakt™/HAlion™/EXS24™
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