|VIRTUAL POLKA INSTRUMENTS
NOTE: The full
version of Native
instruments Kontakt 5 is
required. These instruments
are not licensed to be compatible with the
free edition of Kontakt.
Audio samples are
toward the bottom of the page.
cheesy — call it whatever you want, but the distinct sound of the
Hammond Solovox is firmly rooted in
foundation of Slovenian Polka music in America.
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.
switches select the tones
● Adjustable attack & release
● Adjustable reverb
● Vintage Sound Booster button
Samples: 152 @ 48kHz, 24-bit
Requirements: The full
version of Native
Kontakt 5.4 or later
Eight-Instrument Bundle - 33% OFF
discounted virtual instrument bundle includes the CH-Dutchmen
Concertina, Ham Solo, Melodious Button Box, M-W Bb Tuba, KPK Polka Box,
S-Trad Concertina, IA Tonechamber Accordion, and the Pantastic
Requirements: The full
version of Native
Kontakt 5.4 or later
Q1: What is a
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
Right Side: 41 keys x 2 registers = 82 samples
+ Left Side: 12 bass notes + 48 chords = 60 samples
+ Reed select sound effects = 2
King total = 144 samples
Q3: How are virtual instruments created
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
from the same instruments offered in other libraries?
A: The first difference is that the brand and tuning of the instrument
synonymous with polka music. You won't find Alpine Volksmusik button
being used in Cajun music, or Cleveland-tuned accordions with three
sets of middle reeds being
French cafes. 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
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
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
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
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
comprised of millions 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
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: Absolutely not. 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
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
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
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
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
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 at
half price ($199.)
Q13: Why are you creating virtual polka
A: Virtual world instruments, such as concertinas and accordions, are
typically designed for
more "universal" types of world music. This leaves
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.
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
Q15: Why do you give your instruments
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
upon any copyrights, I mask/blur company logos and brand names and give
my instruments unique names.
Q16: Do you offer free, promotional copies
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. Instruments are typically 50%
off, but only during Thanksgiving weekend.
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
you are using a version of Kontakt that is older than the version I
used to create the instruments. To
update Kontakt 5 to the latest version, open your Native Instruments
Service Center (it's a program that came with your Kontakt software)
and there you can perform the update, which is free.
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
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,
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
refuse to patronize the service. Facebook is good for business,
value principles higher than profits.
you have any questions that
have not been answered here? Please
let me know!