09 April 2019, Tuesday

Legends say that sometimes, when the moon shines just right, a saxophone starts to change under its influence. It grows extra reeds, bellows, and turns into a beastly accordion. Some legends even claim that saxophones can transform into subtractive synthesizers with horrifying unnatural features like resonant filters and unison.
Of course, those are just legends. That kind of thing can't really happen. But we have sampled an alto saxophone and made the legends come true virtually. Behold - the Weresax! Seemingly an innocuous alto saxophone sample library, sampled chromatically across the entire standard range of the instrument with two velocity layers and two round robins. It can even seem sophisticated and smoothly expressive with its vibrato controlled by nine parameters and three low-frequency oscillators.
But we thought that as long as we've got all these notes sampled, and we've got them looped for infinite sustain, why not layer them together and see if we can make them sound like an accordion. After all accordions, like saxes and harmonicas, use vibrating reeds to produce sound. And, well, it worked. It's not a completely realistic accordion, of course, but it can pass for one in a crowd.
Keeping the momentum going, we added more layered voices and more controls, and also made a sxnth - a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer using looped sax samples for oscillators. With polyphony, up to five unison voices, AHDSR envelope, vibrato, resonant highpass filter and a resonant lowpass filter with envelope and LFO, it's capable of organic variations of many classic synthesizer sounds.
And if all that seems too scary, here's a bit of Edvard Grieg's "Morning" played by the sax with a bit of saxcordion chords during the second half, and SM Drums providing the minimal beat. A bit of automation on the two vibrato depths and speed, a pitch bend into the last note and... isn't it nice and relaxing?

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