Soundiron Waterharp is a deeply multi-sampled percussion and effects instrument library that captures the heart and soul of the waterphone. This unique instrument concept was originally developed by Richard Waters in the late 1960s. Waterphones — also commonly known as Water Harps — are found in all shapes and sizes, but they generally follow the same basic design: a brass vessel with a hollow brass water chamber and a long neck. The top side of the chamber is adorned with vertical brass tines or bars. It is played by strumming, striking and bowing these tines, which resonate together creating darkly harmonic or dissonant tones and textures. The tines are cut to specific lengths and arranged to create scales as they wind around the body of the waterphone. Adding water to the chamber and changing the position of the waterphone drastically changes the pitch and harmonics that are produced when the instrument is played. The water chamber itself can also be played as a percussion instrument. Overall, the waterphone can be considered as both a tuned and un-tuned percussion instrument, but is most often used in suspense and horror soundtracks and sound design as a dramatic sound effect tool.
We played it with lots of different mallets, sticks, metal rods, fingers and palms, bows and even voices to explore every nuance and hidden musical potential of this instrument. We recorded it both empty and full of water. We even recorded it from the inside out using hydrophones (underwater microphones), while being cooked over open flame and while filled with machine screws. And finally, we created a wide selection of ambient soundscapes, pads, drones, ambiences and atmospheres using the recordings and all manner of creative sound design techniques to take this library to the next level.
All of the sample content is included as standard open PCM wav files to allow you easy access to manipulate, reprogram and customize the sounds however you wish. This library was recorded in a number of different indoor and outdoor environments, out in the elements and often in uncontrolled conditions. You may hear ambient noises, such as wind, wildlife, creaks, thuds, cracks and room tone in the background in some samples, depending on the recording location and subject matter being recorded. Our goal is to preserve and accentuate the natural human qualities in our instruments without overly sterilizing the recordings.
All sounds, text and images copyright Soundiron 2011. Waterharp version 1.0 released October 15, 2011. This is a curated collection of Waterharp effects samples.