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VIRTUAL POLKA INSTRUMENTS FOR KONTAKT

NOTE: The full version of Native instruments Kontakt (5.5.2 or later) is required. These instruments are not licensed to be compatible with the free edition of Kontakt.



Old German Concertina





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
Leaky, creaky, and squeaky is the best way to describe this antique concertina. I don't know whose attic it came from, but it must have been collecting dust up there for eighty or ninety years. Still, this concertina's charming sound is still worthy of being heard and enjoyed.
 
Only the right side was sampled, because the reeds on the left side were literally too shot to play!



Features
 
Playable in any key
Adjustable reverb


Technical Data
 
Size: 24MB

 
Samples
: 29 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements: The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt
5.5.2 or later
 
Documentation:
User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $1.00
 
Payment:
PayPal

 

  







CH-Dutchmen Concertina




Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description
 
Perhaps no other concertina in America exemplifies the sound of a Midwest "oompah" band more than those designed and built by the late Christy Hengel.
 
Both the right and left sides of this concertina (owned by Ed Hause) were sampled as well as several grabs of air with the air button.


Features
 
Key switches toggle between the master and high reeds
Playable in any key
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 65MB

 
Samples
: 123 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal











Ham Solo





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description
 
Warm, gritty, cheesy — call it whatever you want, but the distinct sound of the  Hammond Solovox is firmly rooted in the foundation of Slovenian Polka music in America.
 
Popularized by Frank Yankovic, this highly temperamental, tube-driven, classic instrument (owned by Grant Kozera) was sampled in four of the most used registers/tones for polkas and waltzes: Master, Master Brilliant, Flute, and Flute Brilliant.


Features
 
Key switches select the tones
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Vintage Sound Booster button


Technical Data
 
Size: 109MB

 
Samples
: 152 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal
 

  







Melodious Button Box
 



Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
There are button boxes for Tex-Mex and button boxes for Cajun, but no such box can ring out polkas and waltzes like an authentic Melodija from Slovenia.
 
This beautiful instrument (owned by Keith Gennerman) was sampled on both the right and left sides. Notes that don't exist on this three-row box were digitally created so that the instrument can be played in any key.



Features
 
Playable in any key
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 33MB

 
Samples
: 44 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documentation: User Manual (PDF)

License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal

 

 








M-W Bb Tuba





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
My dad owned many tubas over the years, including a rotary four-valve Meinl-Weston Bb tuba which he often played on his gigs.
 
This tuba was sampled with most the notes having anywhere from two to six velocity layers, ranging from m to fff.
 
Unlike the tubas you'll find in orchestral brass libraries, all of the sampled notes for this tuba were recorded sforzando (hard attack with tapered sustain) to make playing Dutchmen-style tuba on a keyboard as natural and effortless as possible.



Features
 
Mutiple velocity layers
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Vibrato with modulation wheel


Technical Data
 
Size: 31MB

 
Samples
: 164 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal
 

 








KPK Polka Box


 


Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
My primary gigging piano accordion is a 1960's-era Karpek Polka King, which was made by Petromilli.
 
Unlike other virtual accordions currently available, this one is designed specifically for playing Cleveland-style polkas and waltzes.
Both the left and right sides of the accordion are sampled.
 

Some of the handmade bassoon reeds on this polka box have a slight "buzz" to them, which you may consider good or bad depending on your personal preference.



Features
 
Key switches toggle between master and high reeds
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 175MB

 
Samples
: 144 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement



Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal











S-Trad Concertina





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
You can practically feel the push and pull of the elegant Stradivarius concertina as it churns out one beautiful melody after another.
 
Though perfectly suitable for Dutchmen polka music, this versatile concertina (owned by Joe Fojtik) has seen a life of service in a Czech band. Air button noises (borrowed from the CH-Dutchmen Concertina) are included.


Features
 
Key switches toggle between master and high reeds
Playable in any key
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
● Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 69MB

 
Samples
: 123 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal
 

 








IA Tonechamber Accordion





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
The Polytonette accordion made by Italo-American is probably not what you would consider a polka box because of its piccolo reed set and tone chambers, but those are precisely what give this accordion an incredibly lush sound for jazz, Latin-American, and other types of music.
 
Three reed combinations are offered on the right side of this virtual accordion: bassoon, bassoon + piccolo, and bassoon + clarinet + piccolo. Chords and two sets of bass reeds (with releases) are sampled on the left side.


Features
 
Key switches toggle among reed selections
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Chorus (wetter tuning effect)
Sampled bass button releases
● Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 185MB

 
Samples
: 222 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal


 







Pantastic Accordion





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
The dry-tuned Pan accordion is arguably the most recognizable accordion sound in American polka music, thanks to Frank Yankovic and the legions of Yankovic-style bands that came after him.
 
This fine and dandy accordion (owned by David Austin) shines on polkas and waltzes, but its versatile bassoon reeds excel on pop, jazz, and more. Three reed combinations are offered on the right side: master, three middles, and bassoon. Chords, bass reeds, and a few extra sounds are sampled on the left side.


Features
 
Key switches toggle among reed selections
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
● Adjustable key release noise volume
Sampled bass button releases
● Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 180MB

 
Samples
: 210 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPa
l


 







1917 Grand Chick





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.
If there are any professional keyboard players out there who would be willing to provide a quality original or public domain demo song (MIDI file format preferred) in exchange for a complimentary copy of this instrument, please contact me.



Description

 
In celebration of my family's Chickering grand piano turning 100 years old, I made a virtual instrument out of it. Each note was sampled eight times – four velocities without the sustain pedal, and four velocities with. The piano was sampled in stereo above the hammers, giving it a percussive quality. Shure SM81 condensor mics and Grace preamps were used.
 
Although professionally tuned prior to sampling, this is an old piano; some of the notes have a slight touch of string buzz. After I had sampled the piano, I realized it was not possible to crossfade the velocity layers as I had originally planned. Having only four velocity layers for a piano is less than ideal, so I brought the volumes of the layers closer together and spread them out over the full 0-127 velocity range to smooth out the playing experience. The result is a piano that's hauntingly beautiful at ppp levels, yet can really roar at fff.


Features
 

Adjustable reverb
● Adjustable key release noise volume
● Four .nki variations to choose from


Technical Data
 
Size: 340MB

 
Samples
: 727 @ 44.1kHz, 16-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPa
l


 







AB Wisconsin Polka





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
Although Baldoni accordions are known around the world and span all genres of music, their sound is truly synonymous with polka music across the Midwest. I estimate that in Southeastern Wisconsin alone, at least half of all polka bandleaders play Baldoni accordions.
 
The American Polka is the popular model you'll hear being played on recordings and live performances by such musicians as Barefoot Becky, Keith Gennerman, Steve Meisner, Mike Schneider, and Keith Zweifel. The master, bassoon, and three middle reeds were sampled.

 

Features
 
Key switches toggle among reed selections
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Adjustable key release noise volume
Sampled bass button releases
● Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 100MB

 
Samples
: 208 @ 44.1kHz, 16-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal


 







NEW!  IA P-Master





Audio samples are toward the bottom of the page.


Description

 
Many of the polka greats over the decades have played Italo-American accordions, including the venerable Polka Master. It was built for Cleveland-style polka music, and is considered by some to be the Holy Grail of polka accordions.
 
This accordion (owned by Keith Gennerman) has a sound that will make your polka tracks shine no matter how clean or raunchy the style. Two reed selections are sampled: master and three middles.
 

 

Features
 
Key switches toggle between reed selections
Adjustable attack & release envelopes
Adjustable reverb
Adjustable key release noise volume
● Optional CC1-controlled volume


Technical Data
 
Size: 76MB

 
Samples
: 151 @ 44.1kHz, 16-bit
 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or later
 
Documenta
tion: User Manual (PDF)
License Agreement


Purchase
 
Price: $14.00
 
Payment:
PayPal


 








 
All-Instrument Bundle - Save 50%

  • CH-Dutchmen Concertina  $14.00  $7.00
  • Ham Solo  $14.00  $7.00
  • Melodious Button Box  $14.00  $7.00
  • M-W Bb Tuba  $14.00  $7.00
  • KPK Polka Box  $14.00  $7.00
  • S-Trad Concertina  $14.00  $7.00
  • IA Tonechamber Accordion  $14.00  $7.00
  • Pantastic Accordion  $14.00  $7.00
  • 1917 Grand Chick  $14.00  $7.00
  • AB Wisconsin Polka  $14.00  $7.00
  • IA P-Master  $14.00  $7.00

 
Technical Data
 
Size: 1.37GB

 
Requirements:
The full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5 or later
 
Documentation:
License Agreement
 

Purchase
 
Price: $154.00  $77.00
 
Payment:
PayPa
l


 

 











Frequently-Asked Questions


Q1: What is a virtual instrument?
A: A virtual instrument is a digitally-recreated version of an actual musical instrument that can be played with any MIDI controller, such as a piano keyboard, when connected to a computer. Individual notes from the actual instrument are sampled (recorded) and then compiled into a software-based virtual instrument. The MIDI controller "plays" the virtual instrument by triggering the real instrument's recorded samples.

Q2: How is a real instrument sampled?
A: Every note/sound the instrument can produce is individually sampled in my recording studio using high-end recording gear. Let's look at the Karpek accordion, for example. It has 41 keys on the right hand, producing different 41 notes. I sampled all 41 notes in two reed combinations: master and clarinets. On the left side of the accordion, I sampled the basses and chords in just one reed combination. There are twelve bass notes, and each note has four corresponding chords: major, minor, dominant 7th, and diminished. I also sampled a couple of reed switch noises.
 
   Right Side: 41 keys x 2 registers = 82 samples
+ Left Side: 12 bass notes + 48 chords = 60 samples
+ Reed select sound effects = 2 samples
——
————————————————————————————
Karpek Polka King total = 144 samples

Q3: How are virtual instruments created from the samples?
A: When all of the instrument's notes have been sampled, I painstakingly edit their start times, lengths, and relative volumes for consistency. Then I import the samples into a software program where I assign each sample to its respective note on a MIDI keyboard.  Then I will script code (similar to C++ computer programming) and create graphics to give the instrument a visual interface with some user-adjustable controls.

Q4: How are your polka instruments different from the same instruments offered in other libraries?
A: The first difference is that the brand, model, and tuning of these instruments are synonymous with polka music. These are not instruments made for French cafes, Cajun jitterbugs, or Brazillian tangos. The second difference is that the recorded samples were performed in a way that is suitable for the polka sound. For example, the concertinas and accordions have a harder attack than the "mushy" sound you may be used to getting from sound modules. The tuba samples were recorded with a hard attack plus a taperered sustain, allowing the musician to play staccato or add legato-sounding ties between notes.

Q5: Do your instruments have audible loop points?
A: No, because none of my instruments' samples loop. A "loop" is when a section of a sample is repeated over and over so that holding down a key will produce an indefinite tone. The problem with looping samples is that you can almost always hear the beginning and end of a loop cycle, making a sustained note sound unnatural. I've experimented with looping samples, and found that it's much more practical and pleasing to the ear not to loop them. All of my instruments' samples are typically six to ten seconds in length (up to 15 seconds for the piano) which is more than enough.


Q6: What makes a virtual instrument sound so much like the real thing?
A: When you play a virtual instrument, you are hearing the sound of the real instrument.
Every note you play on your MIDI keyboard will trigger the recorded sample of the real instrument's respective note. For example, if you press the C4 key on your keyboard, it will play the recorded sample of the real instrument's C4. Play Db4, and you'll hear the real instrument's recorded sample of Db4, and so forth. A real instrument's notes can also be multi-sampled, meaning that multiple samples of the same note are recorded at various volumes and timbres. The virtual instrument can be scripted to trigger these sample variations, which adds significantly to its realism. In my opinion, however, the technique by which a virtual instrument is played is what really makes the biggest difference. You still need to play a virtual instrument as closely as possible to the way the real instrument is played.

Q7: Why doesn't a virtual instrument sound EXACTLY like the real thing?
A: What makes a real instrument sound the way it does goes far beyond the notes the instrument produces. A performance on a real instrument is comprised of an infinite number of subtle nuances that our ears take for granted. Things such as the movement of the performer, the velocity of air, the position of the performer's hands, and the acoustics of the room create subtle variances in sound that we don't think about, yet, those variances are what our brain subconciously uses to distinguish that a real instrument is being played. Some high-end virtual instrument manufacturers spend a lot of time developing ways of recreating many of those subtle nuances, but for the most part, a quality performance on a well-sampled virtual instrument is good enough to gratify most listeners.


Q8: Are your virtual concertinas and button boxes restricted to their native keys?
A: No. Every note available on the actual instrument was sampled, and where a note didn't exist on the instrument, one was digitally created. So all of the button boxes and concertinas are chromatically playable in any key. In addition, just for fun, some of the virtual instruments I offer have extended high and low ranges that go several notes beyond the physical limits of the actual instruments.


Q9: What computer software and musical gear do I need to play your virtual instruments?
A: You will need a software program called Kontakt. It is a worldwide industry standard program available on the Native Instruments website. There are two versions of Kontakt available: the full version ($399) and the free player edition. The full version is required. These instruments will not work in the free player edition for more than fifteen minutes, because the player edition is designed to be compatible only with specially licensed virtual instruments. You will also need a MIDI controller, such as a digital piano. My instruments are designed to be performed most easily on an 88-key keyboard.


Q10: Do I need special permission or licensing to make a CD using your virtual instruments?
A: No. The instruments you purchase are yours to perform and record with as you please. You can play them live on stage and on any recordings you produce. If you are a commercial studio, you are welcome to use the instruments on any of your clients' recording projects.

Q11: Are there any restrictions placed on the purchase and use of your virtual instruments?
A: Yes, there are three restrictions. 1.) You cannot copy/distribute the instruments. 2.) You cannot
use the instruments' recorded samples to create new instruments for sale or distribution. 3.) You cannot make the instruments available for synthestration via any automated, web-based services. (Such a service does not yet exist, but it may someday.)

Q12: Do you offer these instruments in different formats?
A: No, just Kontakt. I understand Kontakt is expensive, but it is a world standard. Many developers use Kontakt because it provides the greatest programming capability. Check the Native Instruments website often for sales, especialy holiday sales. At least once a year, they offer Kontakt for half price ($199.)


Q13: Why are you creating virtual polka instruments?
A: Virtual world instruments, such as concertinas and accordions, are typically designed for more "universal" types of world music. This leaves a
distinct gap in the virtual instruments market. I discovered that gap one day while searching for a virtual polka concertina for one of my studio's productions. I couldn't find such a concertina, so I made my own by sampling a friend's concertina. It was a success. From that point on, I decided to boldly go where no VSTi developer dares to go — into the world of American polka music.

Q14: When will new instruments be available?
A:
I don't work on a timetable of any kind, so the best answer I can give is I don't know.  I'm just a one-man operation, and creating virtual instruments is one of many interests that vies for my spare time when I'm not playing tennis or recording music.

Q15: Why do you give your instruments seemingly-related but odd names?
A: Names and logos of businesses and their products are often registered trademarks protected by copyright. While it is legal to mention the brand names of instruments and manufacturers, it may not be legal to use them for their virtual counterparts. To respect and avoid infringing upon any copyrights, I mask or blur all company logos/brands and give my instruments unique names.


Q16: Do you offer free, promotional copies of your instruments?
A: No. I will not respond to requests for promotional copies.

Q17: Do your instruments ever go on sale?
A: I price my instruments at only $14 each so that you can afford to buy the ones you need when you need them. For those of you don't really need any of these instruments but suffer from G.A.S., I run a Black Friday sale every year during Thanksgiving weekend where you can pick up individual instruments for less (usually 50% off.)


Q18: Kontakt says your instrument was produced on a later version of Kontakt, and I need to update mine.
A: If you receive that message when trying to load and play my instruments, then you are using a version of Kontakt that is older than the version I used to create the instruments. Update your version of Kontakt.


Q19: Do you offer refunds?
A: No. As is standard practice in ecommerce, downloaded software cannot be returned. All sales are final. It is your responsibility to make sure the software you have will support these instruments. Do not purchase anything on this page unless you are using a legal, updated, full version of Kontakt.


Q20: Why can't I find you on Facebook?
A:
I was on Facebook from 2008 to 2011, but after becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook's incompetence, arrogance, and underhanded tactics, I quit. Facebook uses deceitful methods to trick their users into thinking they have more privacy than they actually do. I find that practice to be unethical, and therefore refuse to patronize the service. Facebook is good for business, but I value principles higher than profits.

Do you have any questions that have not been answered here?  Please let me know!

Tom Brusky
 




Copyright © 2007-2017 Tom Brusky LLC.  All rights reserved.