Recording - January 2017 - 48

Soundware Showcase
HandHeldSound Scoring Mallets
by Jon Hillman

Sometimes a musical moment demands a specific instrument,
played in a very specific way-perhaps even by a particular musician. I often feel this when scoring to picture, or for a game, where
the music is a direct extension of visuals, and the musical focus
must be razor sharp. It may be due to my fondess for the music of
Thomas Newman and those like him, but when approaching
moments like these, much of the time I'm reaching for a mallet
instrument.... and I know I'm not alone in this.
Composers, it seems, should pay special attention to the critical
role these instruments play in so much music. The most fragile of
melodies, the quickest chase ostinato, the happiest childlike memory-all are handled exceptionally well by the same range of instruments. One would think it'd be an essential part of any composer's
library, yet so many sample libraries treat these instruments as shallow bonus content.
Enter HandHeldSound's Scoring Mallets, a definitive 38,000
sample, 15 GB content library containing Marimba, Xylophone,
and Vibraphone for use in Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5 (full version only). This library goes well beyond mere sound quality, into
the kind of intimate knowledge of the instruments you would expect
from virtuoso players. I last got to experience the kind of nuance for
mallets I see in this library when I was in school, getting my musical
mind blown by a quartet of fantastic mallet players.
Freedom
HandHeldSound says Scoring Mallets affords the "complete freedom of idomatic writing", and I couldn't say it better myself. If you
have a decent MIDI controller, you'll quickly find that all three of
the instruments in Scoring Mallets are eminently playable, from the
softest touch to the most percussive strike possible. You would be
very wise to explore beyond such conventional playing, though, to
discover the Performance and Pattern modes, and all the parameters within.
Accessible by keyswitch, the Performance and Pattern modes allow
for conventional playing (melodic and harmonic) and automatic pattern generation (arpeggios and ostinatos) respectively. Most interesting
in the Performance mode are its various 4-Mallet articulations, all
accessed by holding the sustain pedal and then playing multiple notes
at a time (usually 4-note chords). You are given Basic, Independent,
Ripple, and Simulate options, each of which access different realistic
mallet techniques for sustaining chords.
For instance, with Independent selected, inner voices (the middle
two notes of a 4-note chord) are followed by outer voices (the top
Delivery: Direct download via Continuata application,
15GB on disk
Format: Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.8+, loads in Native
Instruments Kontakt 5.5 and up (full version
required, latest version recommended)
Copy Protection: Serial number, watermarked custom
download
Licensing: Sounds can be used royalty-free in original music
recordings; no resale or repackaging in products for
resale permitted
Documentation: PDF user manual
Price: $199
More from: HandHeldSound, www.handheldsound.com
48

RECORDING JANUARY 2017

and bottom notes of a 4-note chord), which produces a
more homogenized sound. Basic employs a simpler way
to play a multi-mallet roll, wherein 4 notes are grouped
into pairs, with each pair following the other (simulating
two hands each playing two notes at once in alternation).
Simulate is similar to Basic, but allows you to play a 3note chord (for those of us who like to think in triads), and
a fourth note is automatically selected for you. Ripple
mode plays all voices at one time with specific timing and
velocity relationships.
Each performance mode can be played 'untimed'
(quickly) or specific musical time values (1/8, 1/4T, etc).
This yields another very natural approach to pattern and
phrase generation, and the realism gives you the sense of
a real live player sitting in front of you, instead of your


http://www.handheldsound.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2017

Contents
Recording - January 2017 - Intro
Recording - January 2017 - Cover1
Recording - January 2017 - Cover2
Recording - January 2017 - 1
Recording - January 2017 - 2
Recording - January 2017 - 3
Recording - January 2017 - 4
Recording - January 2017 - 5
Recording - January 2017 - Contents
Recording - January 2017 - 7
Recording - January 2017 - 8
Recording - January 2017 - 9
Recording - January 2017 - 10
Recording - January 2017 - 11
Recording - January 2017 - 12
Recording - January 2017 - 13
Recording - January 2017 - 14
Recording - January 2017 - 15
Recording - January 2017 - 16
Recording - January 2017 - 17
Recording - January 2017 - 18
Recording - January 2017 - 19
Recording - January 2017 - 20
Recording - January 2017 - 21
Recording - January 2017 - 22
Recording - January 2017 - 23
Recording - January 2017 - 24
Recording - January 2017 - 25
Recording - January 2017 - 26
Recording - January 2017 - 27
Recording - January 2017 - 28
Recording - January 2017 - 29
Recording - January 2017 - 30
Recording - January 2017 - 31
Recording - January 2017 - 32
Recording - January 2017 - 33
Recording - January 2017 - 34
Recording - January 2017 - 35
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Recording - January 2017 - 37
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Recording - January 2017 - 40
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Recording - January 2017 - 45
Recording - January 2017 - 46
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Recording - January 2017 - 48
Recording - January 2017 - 49
Recording - January 2017 - 50
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Recording - January 2017 - 72
Recording - January 2017 - Cover3
Recording - January 2017 - Cover4
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