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#2543793 - 05/27/16 12:52 PM Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library  
Joined: May 2016
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Hi there,

This is my first post and I'm not sure if I'm posting it in the right subforum, so please, if you're a moderator and you can move it to the right location it would be great smile

I'm Jesús from Wavesfactory. I develop sample libraries for Kontakt and audio plugins.

Back in November, I flew to London to record the Freddie Mercury's personal Fazioli Grand Piano at Metropolis Studio A.
Before actually recording it, I wanted to be sure of what people were expecting from a library like this. Since I'm a huge Freddie's fan and this was the biggest and most ambitious project that I have ever done I wanted to get it just right. So I did a survey with 10 questions, some technical and some non-technical: how many velocity layers, how many mic positions, how many round robins, what do you think that lacks in most piano libraries, what's the best piano library you've heard and so on.
At the end, I had a pretty good image of how to approach the recording. 6 mic positions: ultraclose, close, vintage mono, player perspective, mid and far.
There was a problem with the player perspective so I had to drop that down. 5 mic positions when most piano libraries have only 1 to 3 at the most.
8 velocity layers, checked.
4 round robin with optional neighbour borrowing, checked.

Here you have a preview of me playing the actual piano at the studio.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury

And this is the library itself after all the editing, programming and scripting.
Note: all mics at 0dB, no effects.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury-1

Since this project started with lots of feedback from the community, it should continue to be the same until its release. I care a lot about this so feel free to post whatever you feel like.

I'll be posting more technical demos like staccatos and velocity testing on different keys.

The design is done and it's fantastic.
As a side note, this library will be a Kontakt Player one, no need for the full version of Kontakt.

I would like you to send some feedback in order to improve the library to make it just perfect.

Can't wait to read your comments smile
[Linked Image]

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#2543812 - 05/27/16 01:46 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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phacke Offline

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CO, USA
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-


phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Toccata (G minor) BWV 915
(and trying not to forget the other stuff I know)
#2543824 - 05/27/16 02:11 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: phacke]  
Joined: Oct 2012
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Retsacnal Online content

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🎹
Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-


Interesting observation. Someone here posted the other day that Faziolis are engineered to produce fewer overtones. I don't know if that's true, but it seems consistent with the above.


I M A G I N A T I O N is more important than knowledge -Albert Einstein
#2543830 - 05/27/16 02:30 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: phacke]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-

Is this behaviour on both demos? In that case, that's how the actual piano sounds and there isn't much I can do.

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#2543832 - 05/27/16 02:35 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
Joined: Oct 2012
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Retsacnal Online content

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🎹
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-

Is this behaviour on both demos? In that case, that's how the actual piano sounds and there isn't much I can do.


If the "Engineering" observation is accurate, then that's probably the way it should sound.


I M A G I N A T I O N is more important than knowledge -Albert Einstein
#2543837 - 05/27/16 02:46 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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#2543848 - 05/27/16 03:10 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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pyropaul Offline
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Montreal
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory


There's some strange low level hiss gating on and off in the background, otherwise, it sounds very good.

Paul.

#2543857 - 05/27/16 03:25 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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joe80 Offline
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This piano came to him quite late in his career (obviously since the factory only started producing in 1982 or something and Freddie died in 1991), so it would be interesting to know which recordings Freddie Mercury used it on. I know he left it to the studio after he died, and it's still used there to this day. It would be interesting to hear for a comparison.

It's a cool project, Freddie would be tickled pink I'm sure.

#2543870 - 05/27/16 04:14 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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Mark... Offline
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Mark...  Offline
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Jersey Shore
Clarity without noise...I like it!

#2543892 - 05/27/16 05:10 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Regarding the engineering of Fazioli pianos this is a quote from Stephen Hough who had one for a while:

"I'm afraid I sold it a couple of years after buying it. The Fazioli is a beautifully designed instrument with many positive qualities, particularly a long sustain and a powerful, clean treble. But for me, its sound is a little monochrome and lacking in complexity of overtones. It's actually part of the Fazioli design that the sympathetic part of the upper strings can be tuned. This results in an exact, pure note, but for most Romantic repertoire, I want the rich complexity of overtones. Too pure a note can sound synthetic and thin. Bach and much contemporary music works wonderfully on the Fazioli but in Chopin, Debussy, etc. I don't like it at all. I'm much more excited by the newer Yamahas, which I'm seeing. I just made two CDs on one and it was glorious."

Great project by the way. I love Faziolis, thanks for sharing this. I think the early Faziolis have had a few design changes to produce the current range but that's a very foggy memory of something I read once. Freddy's one is quite possibly an early model, it's certainly from the early days of Fazioli production as Joe mentioned.

Last edited by DiarmuidD; 05/27/16 05:20 PM.
#2543894 - 05/27/16 05:19 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: pyropaul]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by pyropaul
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory


There's some strange low level hiss gating on and off in the background, otherwise, it sounds very good.

Paul.

This is actually the sustain pedal releasing the damper on the strings. That's controllable from the GUI (settings menu):
[Linked Image]

#2543903 - 05/27/16 05:46 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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rtucker55 Offline
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Does the library support Variable Sustain, Sostenuto, and Soft Pedals?

Just noticing the settings UI, very clean and concise. A nice addition being able to control the min & max velocity samples within the library UI. Also appears we can control the overall hammer hardness and attack?

Looking forward to more demos.

Kind regards,
Rick Tucker

#2543904 - 05/27/16 05:46 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80
This piano came to him quite late in his career (obviously since the factory only started producing in 1982 or something and Freddie died in 1991), so it would be interesting to know which recordings Freddie Mercury used it on. I know he left it to the studio after he died, and it's still used there to this day. It would be interesting to hear for a comparison.

It's a cool project, Freddie would be tickled pink I'm sure.

In fact, Metropolis Studios opened in 1989. Queen did record "Innuendo" and "Made In Heaven" there. "Headlong" video was recorded there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhyaAPsT1LU

Unfortunately, there is not a piano driven song in that albums... except for "It's a Beautiful Day". "My Life Has Been Saved" and "Let Me Live" also feature a piano but I think they come from older recordings from 1988 (The Miracle) and 1982. Who knows, maybe they re-recorded the pianos too and they used this beautiful Fazioli.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3LcpCTiy-w

#2543910 - 05/27/16 05:53 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: rtucker55]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by rtucker55
Does the library support Variable Sustain, Sostenuto, and Soft Pedals?

Just noticing the settings UI, very clean and concise. A nice addition being able to control the min & max velocity samples within the library UI. Also appears we can control the overall hammer hardness and attack?

Looking forward to more demos.

Kind regards,
Rick Tucker

Yes smile

#2543921 - 05/27/16 06:15 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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joe80 Offline
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Diarmuid, it would have to be an early model because it would have to have come from the first 5 to 8 years of Fazcoli's production. While I don't know what design changes have taken place with Fazioli over the 30 years they've been producing, I do know that many pianists in the first ten years were brimming with praise for the instrument, Freddie Mercury being just one of many. Actually I didn't know he owned a Fazioli until very recently. His PA told me that he had a Yamaha at home, and of course if you watch any concert of Queen from the 1980s he's using a NYC Steinway that looks like it came through both wars on the front line!

There is a video somewhere of Tatiana Nikolayeva playing a Fazioli in a recital somewhere in Europe, dating from around 1988 (she died in 1992), and Angela Hewitt has used them for at least 25 years now.

I agree with Hough's description of the sound of a Fazioli, but I don't agree that it's unsuited to the romantic repertoire. In a funny way Blüthner and Fazioli share a lot in terms of purity of tone, although they're coming at it from completely different angles, and Bösendorfer too is a very pure sound but perhaps not as crystalline as Fazioli. The thing about the romantic period is that there were so many different kinds of pianos kicking around, from the straight strung Grafs, Erards, Pleyels of the earlier part, to the larger iron-barred Broadwoods (still straight strung), right through to instruments resembling our modern concert grands that I feel (just a gut feeling) that while piano music was probably written with an ideal sound in mind (varying from composer to composer and decade to decade), everyone knew their music would be performed on all sorts of pianos varying in quality.

Anyway sorry to completely derail the thread with that little nugget of guff there. Jesùs, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand? I think you've done a fairly good job in capturing the piano, of course you're going to go back and refine it, and I can't tell the exact quality of the tone through my computer's speakers. What keyboard do you find works best with the sample?

I'll go and dig out my old Queen albums now.

#2543931 - 05/27/16 06:33 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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Ken Iisaka Offline
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Foster City, CA, US
Fazioli concert grands, F278 and F308 have gone through at least 2 major changes in the design of the plate, with countless, continuing improvements and changes.

The biggest change perhaps is between the first and the second generation, in the late 1990s. In the first generation, there were four segments, each with roughly 20-25 notes.

Here's the first generation plate:

http://www.weschenfelder.eu/images/product_images/popup_images/127_5.JPG

Here's the second generation plate:

http://www.fazioli.com/sites/default/files/f278-04.jpg

And the third generation plate:

http://europianosnaples.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RAN_8614.jpg

The plate until the late 1990s have four segments. I don't know whether the scale design actually changed, but subsequent ones have 5 segments.

Design improvements are being made constantly, and it is fair to say that no two Faziolis are alike. Yet, it is remarkable that they are far more consistent from one to another compared to other manufacturers.

Last edited by Ken Iisaka; 05/27/16 06:33 PM.
#2543932 - 05/27/16 06:38 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Thanks for that Ken, that's very interesting.

#2543933 - 05/27/16 07:03 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.

#2543936 - 05/27/16 07:23 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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joe80 Offline
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Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.


Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

Diarmuid, I meant to ask you, are you a recording engineer?


#2544012 - 05/28/16 04:15 AM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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Wavesfactory Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80

Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

No idea... sorry!

By the way, here I leave you two velocity tests. The first one was done yesterday and the feedback was that, although the volume increases, you can still definitely hear how the velocity layers change abruptly.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury-velocitytest

Now, I've introduced a seamlessly morph filter between the velocity layers so you shouldn't notice where the edges are. Does this sound better to you?
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/velocity-test-2

#2544065 - 05/28/16 09:10 AM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.


Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

Diarmuid, I meant to ask you, are you a recording engineer?



I used to do some Joe, it was live concerts mostly, but it's been a while now. Too much lugging of equipment and late night finishes smile

#2544219 - 05/28/16 03:33 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: DiarmuidD]  
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joe80 Offline
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Originally Posted by DiarmuidD
Originally Posted by joe80
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.


Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

Diarmuid, I meant to ask you, are you a recording engineer?



I used to do some Joe, it was live concerts mostly, but it's been a while now. Too much lugging of equipment and late night finishes smile


But never for Freddie Mercury? LOL!

#2544224 - 05/28/16 03:45 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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Originally Posted by Wavesfactory

In fact, Metropolis Studios opened in 1989. Queen did record "Innuendo" and "Made In Heaven" there. "Headlong" video was recorded there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhyaAPsT1LU



Good song, but I forgot how frail he looks on this frown

#2544226 - 05/28/16 03:53 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80]  
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80
Originally Posted by DiarmuidD
Originally Posted by joe80
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.


Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

Diarmuid, I meant to ask you, are you a recording engineer?



I used to do some Joe, it was live concerts mostly, but it's been a while now. Too much lugging of equipment and late night finishes smile


But never for Freddie Mercury? LOL!


I never made it that big! Think more Wigmore Hall and less Wembley.

Oh, I took Brian May's ticket once when I worked in the Coronet cinema as a student, does that count? Lol wink

Last edited by DiarmuidD; 05/28/16 04:06 PM.
#2544237 - 05/28/16 04:25 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: DiarmuidD]  
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Originally Posted by DiarmuidD

I never made it that big! Think more Wigmore Hall and less Wembley.
I for one prefer the type of music played in Wigmore Hall (or Bechstein Hall, as it was originally) to what is normally heard at Wembley - and I don't mean just the football choruses. With all due respect to Freddie and Queen (who weren't above quoting Shostakovich or Mascagni!).

Last edited by oldmancoyote; 05/28/16 04:26 PM.
#2544244 - 05/28/16 04:40 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: oldmancoyote]  
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Originally Posted by oldmancoyote
Originally Posted by DiarmuidD

I never made it that big! Think more Wigmore Hall and less Wembley.
I for one prefer the type of music played in Wigmore Hall (or Bechstein Hall, as it was originally) to what is normally heard at Wembley - and I don't mean just the football choruses. With all due respect to Freddie and Queen (who weren't above quoting Shostakovich or Mascagni!).


Well me too to be honest, but I would have jumped at the chance to to record Queen (not that I was ever even close to that league of gig). My brother was a sound engineer in the pop/rock industry though, he was involved in quite a few big albums and was probably the reason I got interested. He has a few stories to tell too.

#2544256 - 05/28/16 05:15 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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joe80 Offline
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I must admit that I prefer the type of music in the Wigmore to that heard at Wembley, but I do recall an interview with Freddie where he was asked if he socialised with the other members of Queen. He said something like "No, no, dear, I like to go to the Opera and the Ballet, but they just want to go and hear boring rock concerts"

Freddie knew full well who he was quoting and wasn't afraid to do so. But then, music is full of quotes.

#2544259 - 05/28/16 05:23 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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I can tell you that friends of my parents used to live near Brian May, and their garden looked on to his garden. One day about 30 to 35 years ago, Freddie was round at a party, and was there with his partner. Freddie was seen being affectionate with his partner and noticed that my parents friends saw this through their window.

About half an hour later, their doorbell rang and it was Freddie, and he said "obviously you've seen me with my partner, and I really don't want this leaked to the press, I'm not going to pay you any money but why don't you come and join us at the party?", and so they went to the party and got to know Queen quite well. Freddie used to pop around for tea and biscuits, and according to my parents friends, was not at all what you'd expect when you'd seen him on stage. Apparently he was just a normal bloke who liked tea and biscuits, and apart from being incredibly rich and famous, had all the same conversations as the rest of us. A couple of years before he died he just stopped going (for reasons we now know), but he still sent signed records as they were released.

#2544264 - 05/28/16 05:35 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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He died far too young. A great talent and he sounds pretty humble from your story.

#2544280 - 05/28/16 06:08 PM Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory]  
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Excellent sound, will definitely consider getting this virtual piano, when it comes out. You could hardly have chosen a more interesting piano to sample. Joe80, great story.


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Taubman technique - any thoughts?
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