World Instruments for Kontakt features
- Kenyan Sistrum – a forked rattle from Kenya. It’s about 16x5x1 inches, made of a natural forked branch. Two wires strung across the fork hold a number of rusty, flattened metal bottle caps, which act as jingles. Most of the samples are single hits, either short (with the rattle held vertically) or long (with the rattle at an angle). Sample 19 is long looped shake at no particular tempo.
- Vietnamese Cricket (Sanh Sua) – a Sanh Sua, a frog/cricket noise maker from Vietnam. It’s about 11x6x2 inches, made of wood bound with cane and inlaid with abalone. It’s shaped somewhat like a pair of tongs; gently squeezing the handles pushes the two almond-shaped ends together, causing them to rattle against each other.
- Ghanan Marimba – a simple 10 key marimba from Ghana. It’s about 26x16x8 inches, made of wood. The keys, which are relieved in the middle to bring out the fundemental, are attached to the frame/resonator with twine. This instrument lacks the usual gourd resonators, and was probably made for the tourist trade.Note that the given pitches are very approximate; while the instrument is reasonably in tune with itself, it is not at standard A=440 pitch.
- India Hatheli – a jignle stick from India. It’s about 10x2x0.5 inches, made of wood with flat brass jingles. The samples include single sharp hits, some of which have multiple bounces of the jingles, as well as softer hits made by twisting the stick. There is also a digitally reversed sample, and a loop of 1/8 notes accented in 4/4 at 120 BPM.
- Kenyan Box Rattle – a rectangular shaker or rattle from Kenya. It’s about 10x5x0.5 inches, made of reeds bound together with nylon thread, wooden end pieces, and probably filled with pebbles. Most of the samples are single hits, either short (with the rattle held vertically) or long (with the rattle at an angle for a rainstick-like effect). Samples 20 and 21 are long looped shakes at no particular tempo.
- Kenyan Kpoko Kpoko – a double-ended wooden bell from Kenya. It’s about 15x3x2 inches, carved from a single piece of wood with two small clappers in each bell tied in place with wire.
- Thailand Ching – a pair of small hand bells from Thailand. They are about 2x2x2 inches, and made of bronze. The ching is the timekeeper for traditional Thai ensembles (eg. pi phat or mahori). It plays a repeating pattern of alternating closed and open tones. In contrast to tradional European music, the accents (marked with the closed tone of the ching) are on the second and fourth beats in the measure, with the strongest emphasis on the fourth beat. This pattern usually starts slowly, with one “ching” per measure, and repeatedly doubles in speed as the piece progresses. This information on the ching comes from the essay “The Music of Thailand” by David Morton. The samples include open and closed strokes, as well as some longer open rings. There are also digitally reversed and looped tones. Note that the pitch is very close to a standard western “C”. Finally, there is a loop of the traditional pattern at 120 BPM.
- Tongue Drum – offically the Catania Bass Bamboo Tong Drum. It’s made from a large half-cylinder of bamboo with a padauk top/keys. Note that the given pitches are approximate, due to the interaction between the tongues, the notes are more like chords with one tone slightly predominating.
- Vietnamese Fish Scraper – a wooden scraper/rasp and woodblock from Vietnam. Stroking the stick along the “fins” on the fish’s back produces a slightly ascending noise somewhat like a frog. The stick stores neatly in the fish’s mouth. The samples include up and down strokes as well as some single hits. The pitch is approximately an “f”. Note that single hits and some of the scrapes work quite well as pitched sounds in a sampler.
The World Instruments for Kontakt sample library is available as a free download.