Cmusic Production has introduced Small Saw, a free NI Kontakt sample library featuring the sounds of a saw being played with a violin bow.
Small Saw is quite an unusual instrument, but you’ll probably be familiar with its sound if you’ve ever watched older movies or cartoons. It’s a theremin-like sound produced by playing a saw with a violin bow. The saw vibrates and the player bends its metal surface to alter the pitch. To get a better idea of what it sounds like, check out the official demo video which is embedded at the top of this page. It shows the artist Igor Talashov playing the instrument at a concert.
The custom user interface for NI Kontakt allows the user to define the velocity ranges for triggering different playing modes (glissando, portamento, and legato). This is thoroughly explained in the user manual which can be downloaded from the product page. The instrument also features a simple convolution reverb effect which does a good job of adding a sense of space to the sampled sounds. Please note that the full version of NI Kontakt is required to use this library without a time limit (Kontakt Player is not supported). However, the download does include the individual samples in WAV format, meaning that you can create a custom mapping in your sampler of choice.
Bowed string instruments, along with the human voice, are among the hardest instruments to sample. In my opinion, Cmusic Production did a great job with Small Saw, as the resulting patch sounds quite authentic and natural when played. It’s not the type of interest that everyone will want to add to their arsenal, but I’m pretty sure that quite a few film score composers and indie artists will put it to good use.
Keep in mind that the NKI patch and the sample content are provided as separate downloads. After extracting the sample content archive, place the NKI patch in its folder.
Small Saw is available for free download via Cmusic Production (160 MB download size, ZIP archive containing, contains 1 instrument patch in NKI format for NI Kontakt, 809 audio samples in 24-bit WAV format).