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New Late-19th Century Hungarian Hammered Dulcimer Plug-in

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Spitfire Audio adds CIMBALOM to ORIGINALS series of instant writing tools as a shimmering, spine-tingling tuned percussion plug-in.

Spitfire Audio announces availability of CIMBALOM — an appropriately-named addition to its ongoing ORIGINALS series of instant writing tools with the same outstanding recording quality as the ‘full-blown’ flagship libraries with which it has built its reputation, simplified and presented in its free, easy-to-use plug-in, perfectly capturing its 19th century-originating shimmering, spine-tingling tuned percussion instrument namesake (nowadays familiar from being brought into play in innumerable Hollywood film scores, thanks to its mysterious, sinister sound with a distinctive metallic tone that cuts through an orchestra) by being performed by leading London cimbalom player Greg Knowles (known for his work therewith on The Hunger Games in 2012 and 2007’s The Golden Compass), carefully captured to the highest standard in the hallowed (Lyndhurst) Hall at London’s legendary AIR Studios, supremely sampled and served up as a ~1.7GB-sized library with three signals, five presets, and three straightforward NKS (Native Kontrol Standard) compatible controls, creatively combining to create the sound of suspense.


As a distinctive-sounding instrument in its own right, the cimbalom is a large, late-19th century-originating Hungarian concert-hammered dulcimer — itself a type of chordophone comprising a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top, played by striking two beaters against the strings. Dulcimers are an ancestor of the piano, dating back to Babylonian times as a family of stringed instruments known for their Eastern European sound. Somewhat closer to today, they have become widely used as a Hollywood film scoring staple — spy thrillers, in particular, proving well suited to the tremolo technique, as evidenced by the likes of English composer John Barry’s thrilling title theme to The Ipcress File (1965). To name but a few more notable big-screen appearances for the instrument in question: John Williams’ scintillating score to director Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); American composer, conductor, and orchestrator James Horner’s ‘Stealing the Enterprise’ cue from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984); several scenes featuring Gollum in the Peter Jackson-directed The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), courtesy of Canadian composer and conductor Howard Shore; The Golden Compass (2007); The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008); Sherlock Holmes (2009), for which Hollywood hotshot Hans Zimmer turned to a banjo, cimbalom, and other unconventional instruments for the musical accompaniment; and French film composer Alexandre Desplat’s score to The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). In the smaller screen world of television, of course, composer Lalo Shifrin made much use of the cimbalom in several scores he wrote for the original Mission: Impossible American series, from which consequential cues were regularly recycled throughout its 1966 to 1973 run, one of which — ‘The Danube Incident’ — was notably sampled by British trip-hop pioneers Portishead on their track ‘Sour Times’ (from the 1995 Mercury Music Prize-winning Dummy album), which reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart upon its re-release.

ORIGINALS CIMBALOM is available as an AAX-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-compatible plug-in supporting Native Instruments’ NKS (Native Kontrol Standard) for Mac (OS X 10.10 or later) and Windows (7, 8, and 10 — latest Service Pack) that loads directly into any compatible DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for an RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of only £29.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/$29.00 USD/€29.00 EUR (inc. VAT) — from HERE: (Note that owners of the now-no-longer-available GRAND CIMBALOM library will automatically receive ORIGINALS CIMBALOM for free.)

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