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KOTO20
Virtuoso Japanese Series

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KOTO 20, the eighth title in the Virtuoso Japanese Series, packages the 21-string koto in a Kontakt liblary in pursuit of expanding the possibilities of Japanese music

Three years after the release of KOTO 13, Sonica Instruments has put the final touches on a new software library that brings the evocative and graceful sounds of the 21-string koto, an essential instrument in modern Japanese music, to all music creators. KOTO 20 features all the exquisite tonality and expressiveness of the instrument together with the flexibility for modern composition approaches.

The library can naturally be used on its own. But when combined with other titles from the Virtuoso Japanese Series — such as KOTO 13, KOTO 17, or Shakuhachi — as well as orchestral instruments, KOTO 20 can complete a rich and broad ensemble.

As a historical note, the 20-string koto was conceived by Keiko Nosaka in 1969. Initially, this koto was strung with 20 strings, but in later iterations, another string was added to make it a 21-string instrument.
 
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Main Features

  • Near-perfect recreation of every performance nuance from the 21-string koto thanks to meticulous recording techniques and innovative programming
  • Exclusive Performance mode maps the 21 strings to adjacent white keys for easy performance of real koto glissandos and phrases
  • 18 key-switch-selectable articulations fundamental to the 21-string koto
  • Sustain pedal control for natural continuous-picking phrasing
  • Newly developed Instrument Modeler reproduces sound variations due to different fingerpicks and strings
  • Character selector lets you choose from three fingerpick thicknesses
  • String tone selector offers three string tones: Thick, Normal, and Thin
  • Includes three banks of quintessential koto phrases, all key-switch controllable
  • Plucking control function for full mastery over subtle, natural sounding picked notes
  • String editor enables independent tuning adjustments for all 21 strings
  •  In addition to the 10 preset scales, the User Scale mode lets you create original scales
  • All samples recorded in 24-bit / 96 kHz high resolution to capture every tonal detail
  • Create your own mixes with the multi-microphone samples and a dedicated mixer with individual controls for Direct, Overhead, Room, and Stereo Mix channels
  • Compatible with Kontakt Player / Kontakt Full Ver. 5.7.3 or newer
  • NKS ready
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About the performers
Official artist
maruta s Miki Maruta

Miki Maruta studied the koto under Tadao and Kazue Sawai and graduated from the Takasaki College of Music with top of honors. For two years beginning in 1990, she taught koto music as an artist in residence at Wesleyan University in the United States. In 1994 she was selected for an internship in the performing arts at the Agency for Cultural Affairs. In 2001 she released a solo CD entitled "Like a Bird". She began giving regular live shows primarily in the Tokyo area that feature a wide range of materials, from classic pieces, recordings, and improvisation. While doing so she has utilized her flexible sensibility and adaptability to collaborate with artists across an array of genres both in Japan and abroad. Maruta's performances at music festivals both in Japan and abroad have also been warmly received. Maruta is a lecturer at music department of Mie University from 2004.







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18 articulations to recreate every aspect of the 21-string koto's playing styles

KOTO 20 is packed with 18 different articulations to recreate the koto's vast range of musical expressions. These include different nuances created by playing with the thumb, index, or middle finger as well as glissandos, tremolo picking, and even chirashizume pick scrapes. All articulations can be controlled independently with key switches.


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Articulations
Picking Thumb, Picking Index, Picking Middle, Pizzicato (LH), Pizzicato (RH), Sukuizume Picking, Chirashizume (Fast), Chirashizume (Medium), Chirashizume (Slow), Bend Up (Half / Whole), Bend Down (Half / Whole), Bend Up-Down (Half / Whole), Tsuki-Iro (Half / Whole), Tremolo, Keshizume, Alternate Picking (3 Types)

Newly developed Instrument Modeler reproduces sound variations from different fingerpicks and strings

The tonal characteristics of the koto vary a lot depending on the fingerpick and string thickness used. To faithfully reproduce these variations, we developed a new function called the Instrument Modeler.

With the Instrument Modeler, you can adjust individual parameters, including the fingerpick and string thickness (Thick, Normal, and Thin), the pitch and attack of note transients, and noise components. This functionality makes it possible to control the character of the sound any way you like, from a natural playing feel to very aggressive performances.


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Alternate picking articulations and sustain pedal control for natural continuous - picking phraseing

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The library comes with three alternate picking articulations to recreate the natural sound variations that occur while playing a succession of pick strokes. Alternate picking can be switched with key switches or the sustain pedal control. This function makes it easy to reproduce realistic tremolo picking.

With the sustain pedal control on, you can switch between normal picking with key on events and alternate picking with key off events.
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Three banks of quintessential koto phrases

The three KOTO 17 phrase banks contain special techniques that are difficult to reproduce, ranging from classic koto techniques such as glissandos and surizume to sound effects made by striking the bridges. Phrase banks are selectable with key switches and can be triggered from a MIDI keyboard. You can control the pitch and tempo of each phrase bank as well


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String editor enables independent tuning adjustments for all strings

KOTO 20 has a Scale Performance mode to map the tones of each string to 21 adjacent white keys. This lets the performer access the instrument in the most realistic way possible.

The library comes with 10 frequently used scales, including a chromatic scale. You can perform many musical pieces with the presets and the key transposition function. The additional User Scale mode lets you create custom scales for specific compositions. When creating a custom scale, you can set the volume and panning for each string as well as fine tune each string.

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10 preset scales
Chromatic, Ionian, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Whole Tone

Key transpositions: G to F#

User scales
By customizing all 21 strings, you can set up scales for specific tunes or for your original compositions, allowing you to incorporate koto elements into any piece of music. Custom scales are saved as user scales and can be recalled at any time.

Note: User scales cannot be transposed.

Multi-microphone samples in full 24-bit / 96 kHz high resolution

The recordings were made with the utmost care, using more than eight microphones of various types together with colorless mic preamps. All library samples were recorded in 24-bit / 96 kHz high definition to faithfully capture the entirety of the koto's delicate expressions.

The samples were recorded with three stereo microphone positions — Direct, Overhead, and Room — plus a Stereo Mix. Full mixing control is available, with individual Volume, Pan, Reverb Send, and EQ adjustments for each channel. The parallel output bus sends the microphone channels to individual DAW tracks for finer mixing sessions.

The library comes with 30 convolution reverbs, including two impulse responses from a Noh theater renowned among musicians for its acoustics. The convolution reverbs permit high-quality in-instrument sound creation.

Load manager reduces memory usage for smoother production

With the load manager, the performer can choose to load only the desired articulations. Skipping unnecessary samples obtains smoother performance from the Kontakt engine.

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NKS ready
KOTO17 is NKS compatible so it can be used with Kontakt Player, Kontakt Full (Ver. 5.7.3 or newer), and KOMPLETE KONTROL.

When Sanshin is linked with a KOMPLETE KONTROL keyboard or other NKS-compatible hardware, you can quickly preview tones and make full use of the hardware’s knobs and controllers.


SPECIFICATIONS

Format
Native Instruments Kontakt 5.7.3 or newer
Kontakt Player compatible
NKS ready
 
Operating system requirements
Mac OS X 10.10 or newer
Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
A minimum of 4 GB of RAM (16 GB is recommended) is needed on both Mac and Windows systems.

Data size
~14.97GB in NCW format (equivalent to 33.26GB in wav format)

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