November 20th, 2018

88 piano keys, long natural reverb: up to 13 seconds per note


I love Freesound. You guys saved my bacon back in the day. Recently I searched for free piano notes for a game I'm making, but the only ones I could find ended too quickly. I need long reverb! Luckily I have an old piano, so I made my own. So this is me giving back.


We had the piano tuned a year ago, but it is well over 60 years old, so be warned! These notes have character! If you want perfect tone, either edit them individually, generate something artificially, or buy a professional set. But if you want a piano with personality, this is for you. being an old piano, it only has 85 keys. So I created the highest 3 notes by speeding up previous notes, to make the modern standard 88 keys.


The notes are created on an old (well over 50 years) Steinhoff upright piano. It only has 85 keys, so I faked the highest 3 keys by taking previous keys and changing their pitch. I opened the top, balanced my trusty Everesta BM-800 condenser microphone across the top near the high note end, and held down the "loud" pedal. Each note was then hit and kept pressed down until I could no longer hear any reverb. Notes were saved as MP3 using my laptop, using Free Sound Recorder on the highest quality settings. Yeah, I know it isn't FLAC, but I am strictly amateur with budget to match, and that was the best I could do. After that, all editing was of course uncomopressed until the final save.


Editing was kept to a minimum, mainly to enhance the reverberation. All editing took place on Audacity on Linux Mint. First I cropped any silence from the start. next, used the envelope function to gradually increae volume to 200% over a couple of seconds. That is, the quietest part of the reverb is twice as loud as you might expect. Because for my game I sometimes need a single piano key to last ten seconds. Next I maximised the volume. if there was just a single stray waveform that stuck out then I reduced that by 2dB or so then maximised again. Because like I said, I want to hear that reverb! I then found the part where background noise starts to be noticeable, and faded out over 1 second or so. This meant that the lowest notes had as much as 13 seconds of reverb, whereas the highest notes might only have 2 or so. Finally I checked the result, and edited three or four notes that I felt were just too ugly (badly tuned, or for some reason the software suddenly got hissy when the note became too quiet. Weird.) I also slightly changed the pitch of a couple of notes that were slightly out of tune but otherwise OK. No doubt a better ear than mine could teak all of the notes. but as I said, it's an old piano and we're keeping it real. Finally, files were compressed to OGG at the highest quality setting, using SoundKonverter.


I live in the countryside with very slow broadband, so I apologise for including more of the original files. But as it was, uploading this zip file took about an hour. Enjoy.


Use this for anything you want, commercial or not, credit me or not. Consider it public domain. My main concern is that I had completely legal sound for my game, with nice long reverb and character. Uploading it here provides proof that I created it first, just in case anybody comes back and says "those are mine" (it happens).


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Ogg Vorbis (.ogg)
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