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Introducing Friktion Modeled Strings

Posted Aug. 25, 2020, 8:43 a.m.

I'm super excited to announce the release of Friktion Modeled Strings. Check it out:

Friktion's a brand new instrument developed by Peter Jubel, our co-founder. Like with so many things we do, it started with curiosity. What would it take to make a realistic, expressive string instrument without samples? How do we translate playing a violin to playing a keyboard? How far beyond a violin can we go without making it confusing? The answer to all these questions resulted in the device you see (and hear!) today.

I've personally always thought of "physical modeling" as a cool type of synthesis for less-than-convincing sounds. It was not until I heard Peter casually playing what could only be described as as horror movie soundtrack that I realized just how powerful it is. There were all these little details—squeaky overtones coming and going, raspy bow pressure, different playing techniques—that made it super expressive. My step mother's a very accomplished cellist so I grew up with the sound of strings, and suddenly that sound felt within reach.

After many long months of tweaking, we're very happy with just how good Friktion sounds. With just a keyboard and a mod wheel you can play incredible violin performances with ease. What surprised me though is how great Friktion is for re-creating or creating a plethora of other instruments!

With a little tweaking we've made patches for recorder, bagpipes, shakuhachi, erhu, slap bass, psaltry, xylophone, bassoon and many others. What's even more exciting is that we made extremely organic and realistic sounds that still didn't sound like any instrument we knew about. It turns out that due to its physical modeling design, Friktion ended up becoming all about expressive string instruments, even if those instruments didn't exist yet.

You can probably tell that I'm really excited about Friktion finally seeing the light of day. I hope you'll love it as much as we do and that it will find a home in many, many Reason Racks around the world.

Mattias Häggström Gerdt,
Product Manager

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