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Virtuoso Japanese Series

Price: $240

Shakuhachi, the third release in the Virtuoso Japanese Series, is now available as a software instrument in Kontakt format.

Singing sonorous intonation, deep yet delicate breathing, and a Japanese sound aesthetic spilling into the periphery: The shakuhachi — an instrument symbolic of Japan — finally joins the Virtuoso Japanese Series family.

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Main Features

  • Precisely captures the scintillating sounds of a veteran shakuhachi player, covering every playing technique and recorded with exacting attention to detail at every musical interval
  • Features performance mechanisms designed specifically for this library to recreate the full dynamics of this wind instrument, from the softest sound to the most emphatic pitch
  • The unique Key Trigger Connection function lets the performer move through a colorful assortment of articulations without ever interrupting the sound
  • Legato and grace note controls reproduce complex fingering techniques such as atari, uchi, and oshi.
  • The blow control function lets the performer manipulate the duration from the breath noise to the actual tone with either a controller.
  • The expression control varies the tone color naturally and continuously without gradations
  • A hybrid combination of the shakuhachi (1.8 shakuhachi) and the 2.3 shakuhachi provides a wider register, including lower tones, and more tone color variations
  • Create traditional shakuhachi pitch scales, as well as performer-specific pitch scales, with the Scale Tuning function, which provides individual note adjustment over G2 to B5
  • Five phrase banks contain a wide array of essential shakuhachi phrases
  • Lively powerful sounds sampled in full 24 bit 96 kHz fidelity (the library itself contains 24 bit 44.1 kHz samples)
  • Create your own mixes with the multi-microphone samples and a dedicated mixer with individual controls for Direct, Overhead, Room, and Stereo Mix


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Performer Profile
shaku 05 jinray profile 156Shakuhachi Performer
Ray Jin

Born in Tokyo in 1980, Rei Jin is the grandson of Nyodo Jin, a famous compiler of traditional shakuhachi honkyoku music, and as such has been intimately connected with classical Japanese arts from childhood.

He studied the shakuhachi first with his father, Nyoshou Jin, and then with masters Reibo Aoki, Junsuke Kawase, Hozan Yamamoto, and Jumei Tokumaru.

His education includes a completing a course in modern Japanese music, graduating with a major in the shakuhachi from the Department of Traditional Japanese Music, Tokyo University of the Arts, and completing a Master’s course from the Graduate School of Music at the same university. He has served as an education research assistant at the Faculty of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts between 2007 and 2009 and from 2015 to the present.

He is an instructor at the NHK Academy of Distance Learning, an instructor at Waseda University’s Chikuyukai, a shakuhachi instructor at the Traditional Performing Arts for Kids, a school run by Geidankyo, executive director of the Kinkoryu Association, planning committee member of the Nihon Sankyoku Association, member of the Komuso Research Society, and member of the Society for Research in Asiatic Music.

While his main focus is a transmitter of traditional shakuhachi music, Rei Jin actively collaborates with many different artists working in genres from both Japan and abroad.

Accomplished performances and vivid recordings

Rei Jin played the shakuhachi for the sampling sessions. He gave us an entire kaleidoscope of sounds from the bamboo instrument — from soft, sweet long tones to the most bombastic blasts — that only the most skilled player can produce.

In the studio, we used a meticulous microphone setup together with high-end microphone preamps with no coloration to ensure we captured the true voice of the instrument.

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To recreate the liveliness of the instrument’s singular playing techniques required the development of special articulation mechanisms and interfaces

Key Trigger Connection lets the performer switch playing techniques on the fly without ever interrupting the sound

Being a wind instrument, the shakuhachi is played by varying techniques from moment to moment while maintaining a single sound: for example, from a straight tone to yuri (vibrato) and then from yuri to a violent and loud burst of air. We designed the Key Trigger Connection mechanism from scratch to reproduce this quintessential shakuhachi performing approach. Key Trigger Connection lets you string articulations together smoothly just by hitting the assigned keys while playing. Connectable articulations include various yuri techniques, sforzando, muraiki (breath) effects, uchi & oshi fingering, and tamae (tongue trill). You can connect as many articulations as you like while holding down the base note, for the feel of a live instrument.

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Blow control
This mechanism lets the performer, using a controller, manipulate the duration from the initial breath noise before any sound is produced until the note’s full power is reached. Blow control makes playing a keyboard feel like a wind controller, giving you access to smooth, dynamic breath expressions despite being sample based.
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Rich palette of legato expressions

Alternate legato
When playing legato, this function automatically generates the alternating rising and falling legato that is essential to the shakuhachi.

Atari legato
This function recreates the unique atari legato, a fingering technique that causes the pitch to jump the instant a note change is made.

Oshi and uchi fingering
This function allows the performer to add at will fast oshi and uchi fingering during a blown note for accents or tremolo effects.

Rich assortment of shakuhachi articulations
 The library contains nearly every possible shakuhachi articulation, including vertical yuri, horizontal yuri, and other vibrato techniques, sforzando, many muraiki breath expressions, tamae trills, korokoro, karakara, and other sound-effect techniques, and short scale-based improvisations.

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Scale Tuning

Each chromatic pitch across the whole register can be individually fine-tuned. This lets you access traditional scale pitches from Japanese music and pitch “feels” unique to a particular performer. And of course, pitch settings can be saved and recalled.
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1.8 / 2.3 hybrid combination covers a wide register

The library contains samples from the popular 1.8 “D” shakuhachi (D3 to G6) as well as the 2.3 “A” shakuhachi (G2 to B4), which covers the low register. The top note of the “A” shakuhachi range is adjustable between G2 and B4, to find the perfect balance between the characters of the two instruments. (This applies to Straight, Tonguing, and Legato techniques only.)
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Packed with 25 articulations, five phrase banks, and breath noises

Articulation list
Key switchable articulations
  • Straight
  • Tonguing
  • Grace Note
  • Portamento up
  • Straight and Atari
  • Sfortzando
  • Uchi & Oshi (Finger Effect)
  • Yuri 1 (Vibrato Horizontal)
  • Yuri 2 (Vibrato Vertical)
  • Yuri 3 (Vib. Vertical Long)
  • Iki-Yuri 1 (Vibrato with Breath)
  • Iki-Yuri 2 (Vibrato with Breath Fast)
  • Muraiki 1 (Breath FX1)
  • Muraiki 2A (Breath FX2A)
  • Muraiki 2B (Breath FX2B)
  • Muraiki 3 (Breath FX3)
  • Tamane (FX with Tongue Trill)
  • Karakara (FX with Finger)
  • Korokoro (FX with Finger)
  • Improvisation
Articulations that support key trigger connections
  • Grace Note
  • Sfortzando
  • Uchi & Oshi (Finger Effect)
  • Yuri 1 (Vibrato Horizontal)
  • Yuri 2 (Vibrato Vertical)
  • Yuri 3 (Vib. Vertical Long)
  • Iki-Yuri 1 (Vibrato with Breath)
  • Iki-Yuri 2 (Vibrato with Breath Fast)
  • Muraiki 1 (Breath FX1)
  • Muraiki 2A (Breath FX2A)
  • Muraiki 2B (Breath FX2B)
  • Muraiki 3 (Breath FX3)
  • Tamane (FX with Tongue Trill)
  • Fast Legato
  • Slow Legato
  • Atari Legato
Breath noises
24 breath noise and special effects

Five phrase banks
  • Short Phrase 1: eight short phrases
  • Short Phrase 2: eight short phrases
  • Short Phrase 3: eight short phrases
  • Short Phrase 4: five short phrases
  • Short Phrase 5: five short phrases
Audio Mixer
Samples were recorded in 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. Shakuhachi also comes with a quality convolution reverb for excellent in-instrument sound creation. The parallel output bus sends the microphone channels to individual DAW tracks for finer mixing sessions.

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LOAD Manager
With the load manager, the performer can load just the desired articulations. Skipping unnecessary samples can obtain better performance from the Kontakt engine.

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Native Instruments Kontakt 5.4 Full or newer (Kontakt Player is not supported)

Operating system requirements:
Mac OS X 10.10 or newer recommended
Intel Core 2 Duo or better

Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2

A minimum of 4 GB of RAM (6 GB is recommended) is needed on both Mac and Windows systems.

Data size:
5.71 GB in NCW format (equivalent to 11.4 GB in wav format)

Notes on using this product
Native Instruments Kontakt 5.4 or newer (Full version) is required to use this library. (Kontakt Player is not supported.)

Installing the product requires a minimum of 5.8 GB of free disk space.

Use the recommended Native Instruments Kontakt system requirements at a minimum. Installing the product on a computer with a faster CPU and ample RAM is recommended for optimal library performance.

Important: Online user registration is required in order to use the library.

Sonica Instruments
Virtuoso Japanese Series

Product code: SNCI 005
Domestic retail price: $240

[Sonica Instruments End User License Agreement]

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