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Hi friends,

This is David. I hope you are doing well.

With so many excellent keyboard sample libraries out there, covering upright pianos, grand pianos, harpsichords and pipe organs, I wonder if there is (are) some good VST that represents a good fortepiano, the kind that was popular from the late 18th to the early 19th century?

I'm asking this because I'm now playing some Mozart, and I want to hear how it feels like if I interacted with an instrument closer to what he would have played? Of course, I will sign up for lessons in the fall if all goes well, but I also want something that can run on my computer.

If you can provide some audio / video demos along with your recommendations, I can make my decision easily.

Thank you for your recommendation!

David

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Fortepiano 18/19th century VST are quite rare. You should have a look to Pianoteq And its Kremsegg collection.

It has a free demo… then you can try it before purchasing it (you will just suffer some missing black keys and its 20 minutes limit).


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Pianoteq is probably the only option. Karsten and Kremsegg collections include:

J. Weimes pianoforte (Prague, 1808);
J. Dohnal pianoforte (1795);
J. Broadwood pianoforte (1796).

Last edited by VladK; 04/24/22 06:45 PM.

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Originally Posted by VladK
Pianoteq is probably the only option. Karsten and Kremsegg collections include:

J. Weimes pianoforte (Prague, 1808);
J. Dohnal pianoforte (1795);
J. Broadwood pianoforte (1796).

I see. Thank you, Vlad! I listened to the demos and they do sound pretty fine, but I do have one minor complaint -- they sound a bit cold. In actual fortepiano recordings, there's a sense of warmth that these modeled instruments still hasn't attained. I do hope in 5 years things would improve, but until then, probably sampling is still my best companion. If there are none in the sampling world, I'll wait.

Thank you for your recommendations, though. PianoTeq still can't please me as a player and listener.

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There are also sampled libraries from Samplesounds, both require full Kontakt:
- Early Pianoforte - Edition Beurmann, built by Johann Andreas Stein in Augsburg in 1793;
- Pianoforte - Edition Beurmann, built by Johann Karl Traugott Berndt in Breslau in 1848.
These are little bit expensive IMHO.


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Originally Posted by VladK
There are also sampled libraries from Samplesounds, both require full Kontakt:
- Early Pianoforte - Edition Beurmann, built by Johann Andreas Stein in Augsburg in 1793;
- Pianoforte - Edition Beurmann, built by Johann Karl Traugott Berndt in Breslau in 1848.
These are little bit expensive IMHO.


I agree, these two are expensive. The Pianoforte sounds better, while the Early Pianoforte has some hiss / noise in certain samples. Strange they didn't clean them up effectively. If they ever run deals, I'll probably consider. Thanks again, Vlad! smile

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even if it was a good / accurate representation of a forte piano, how would you even know ? they generally sound kind of crappy compared to our modern idea of piano sounds.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
even if it was a good / accurate representation of a forte piano, how would you even know ? they generally sound kind of crappy compared to our modern idea of piano sounds.

That's a good question. At least I could compare what the software sounds like against a recording, that's how I judge that PianoTeq usually sounds cold, tinny, and the naturalness of the sounds there is still a bit far from the real thing, whatever the instrument it's trying to mimic.

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I was also looking for classical-era fortepiano VSTs a few months ago and found very few options, at least among sampled instruments.

As others have mentioned, your best bet right now is still probably Pianoteq, which offers a number of 18th and early 19th century fortepiano models, many of them free (and quite good) as part of their KIViR project, and several additional paid ones in their 2 Kremsegg instrument packs.

I’m not generally a fan of the modern grands on Pianoteq, finding them somewhat artificial, but for whatever reason the historical instruments don’t bother me nearly as much.

They replicate the basic sound and responsiveness of these instruments pretty effectively (quicker decay, sharper attack, more delicate, transparent sound), which often requires approaching articulation and phrasing rather differently than you would on a modern instrument.

While I agree it would be nice to have more high quality sampled VST’s from this era (and am still hopeful that some developer will eventually fill this void) for the time being I think the Pianoteq historical collections are a pretty decent alternative.

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David,

You are cursed with ears that are too good!! wink

Try to find a "creative suspension of disbelief"

(Or as the old rock song goes... "if you can't be with the one you love... love the one you're with... ) cool


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Originally Posted by David Lai
Originally Posted by VladK
Pianoteq is probably the only option. Karsten and Kremsegg collections include:

J. Weimes pianoforte (Prague, 1808);
J. Dohnal pianoforte (1795);
J. Broadwood pianoforte (1796).

I see. Thank you, Vlad! I listened to the demos and they do sound pretty fine, but I do have one minor complaint -- they sound a bit cold. In actual fortepiano recordings, there's a sense of warmth that these modeled instruments still hasn't attained. I do hope in 5 years things would improve, but until then, probably sampling is still my best companion. If there are none in the sampling world, I'll wait.

You don't have to wait. All you hear are frequencies. A cold or warm sound can be controlled by an equalizer or an imager.


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Thank you for your replies! I guess I may just have to look at PianoTeq in the face. smile

Jane, I love your attitude wink ! Maybe I should compromise?

I wonder if PianoTeq can approach the sound in this video? If that can be the case, I'll give it a chance.

Thank you as always for your knowledge and knowhow!

David


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On bestservice.de I found some sampled fortepianos from "Realsamples Edition Beurmann". I have no idea whether they are good, or what requirements they have. There are sound samples on the BestService website, and they certainly sound old. smile


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Originally Posted by David Lai
I wonder if PianoTeq can approach the sound in this video? If that can be the case, I'll give it a chance.


Hi David. That particular example has a lot of room reverb. Do you want a dry tone to practice, or a wet tone like in your youtube example and will use it to record? I ask this because it is much easier to make a good recording pianoteq sound than it is a dry tone...

Last edited by vagfilm; 04/25/22 01:37 PM.
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the other thing is, you might not like playing the forte piano sound for very long, it's not awful, but somewhat grating.

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keep calm and play the piano :-)
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David, I assume you have heard fortepianos by Stein, or good copies, live, and hopefully have tried some. I say this because I have never heard an original or copy of a fortepiano of Mozart's time sound anything like the YouTube clip. it sounds like a Stein crammed full of steroids. On my system anyway. (I am a pianist and harpsichordist and feel obliged to warn you that adjusting to a fortepiano from either of the other instruments is a difficult journey and hopefully your experience will be easier than mine. I heard precious little of the delicacy of a Stein in the clip. Sorry)

I now only play Pianoteq instruments, having given up on sampled instruments and given time/expertise, you can make a Pianoteq instrument sound pretty much how you like. (Except make a Steinway sound like a Yamaha and vice versa) That is one of Pianoteq's strengths and weaknesses: you can adjust the basic sound a zillion ways. Given time and expertise ..... I am aware that the basic sound has its detractors and it's not there yet. Moving from each major upgrade in Pianoteq is an exercise in ecstasy and frustration as the undoubted improvement - ecstasy - is tempered by frustration that there are still niggly aspects that are not quite right. It's still the best digital product for me and I had spent decades playing acoustic pianos and harpsichords, with a few fortepianos thrown in before downsizing and going digital.

I am not into converting people to anything and have limited time and expertise but if you would like me to have a go at creating less tinny and cold versions of both the A Walter 1790 and the J Weimes 1808 instruments I could PM you a couple of wav files, limiting tweaks to what is available in the Pianoteq Stage version. I would have no problem with your responding that you hate both of them ............

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After much searching, I actually found a collection of PianoTeq instruments I liked, and sounded similar to recordings of fortepianos.

The Walter, Schöffstoss and Schantz I was very impressed with, and the tinny / cold sounds of PianoTeq was a bit tamed. Thank you for sharing these!!!

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Originally Posted by sandalholme
David, I assume you have heard fortepianos by Stein, or good copies, live, and hopefully have tried some. I say this because I have never heard an original or copy of a fortepiano of Mozart's time sound anything like the YouTube clip. it sounds like a Stein crammed full of steroids. On my system anyway. (I am a pianist and harpsichordist and feel obliged to warn you that adjusting to a fortepiano from either of the other instruments is a difficult journey and hopefully your experience will be easier than mine. I heard precious little of the delicacy of a Stein in the clip. Sorry)

I now only play Pianoteq instruments, having given up on sampled instruments and given time/expertise, you can make a Pianoteq instrument sound pretty much how you like. (Except make a Steinway sound like a Yamaha and vice versa) That is one of Pianoteq's strengths and weaknesses: you can adjust the basic sound a zillion ways. Given time and expertise ..... I am aware that the basic sound has its detractors and it's not there yet. Moving from each major upgrade in Pianoteq is an exercise in ecstasy and frustration as the undoubted improvement - ecstasy - is tempered by frustration that there are still niggly aspects that are not quite right. It's still the best digital product for me and I had spent decades playing acoustic pianos and harpsichords, with a few fortepianos thrown in before downsizing and going digital.

I am not into converting people to anything and have limited time and expertise but if you would like me to have a go at creating less tinny and cold versions of both the A Walter 1790 and the J Weimes 1808 instruments I could PM you a couple of wav files, limiting tweaks to what is available in the Pianoteq Stage version. I would have no problem with your responding that you hate both of them ............

Thank you for your offer, and I'd be glad to hear you play on these digital emulations for me. As I've expressed on other threads, I'm not 100% hating PianoTeq, as long as the basic sound could improve with time. What turns me off about PianoTeq is its coldness and tinny sound, and how almost each instrument have the same odd bit of resonance. When you hear the notes above middle C, they are very good. But it starts going down hill when you move down the keyboard, or play the highest range of the modern piano using one of the modern concert grand settings. So far I'm still not impressed with their acoustic piano offerings. As for historic instruments, a couple of harpsichords are like the Berlin Harpsichords VST from Orchestral Tools.

Well, I guess maybe I am cursed either with my ears, or my expectations of how an acoustic instrument should sound when rendered in a digital format.

Anyway, I'd love to hear how you can tweak this, and maybe make it sound more acoustic and less, well, like Pianoteq?

Thank you! smile

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Originally Posted by David Lai
I wonder if PianoTeq can approach the sound in this video? If that can be the case, I'll give it a chance.


Hi David. That particular example has a lot of room reverb. Do you want a dry tone to practice, or a wet tone like in your youtube example and will use it to record? I ask this because it is much easier to make a good recording pianoteq sound than it is a dry tone...

I for sure want some light reverb, even in practice! Unrelated to the present discussion, but I now mainly use the Garritan CFX for piano practice, and I use a slightly modified player setting, and I can add the ambient mic to taste. Sometimes when I'm recording, I crank up the ambient volume and slightly reduce the close. Other times when I want a clearer sound, I do the opposite on my midi slider knob.

Also, I guess some light reverb would help minimize the computer-like sound of PianoTeq a bit? Just guessing. But I've already found 3 fortepianos that I liked from PianoTeq!

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