In Italian, ‘una corda’ means ‘one string’. Classically trained pianists also know the phrase as the name of a grand piano’s ‘soft’ pedal, which shifts the hammers so they strike fewer strings in the middle and upper registers, and less of each single bass string. The result is a soft, pure tone with strong natural resonance.
Acclaimed piano maker David Klavins built an innovative 64-key upright piano to explore the sonic possibilities of an instrument that was equipped with only one string per key across all registers. Known for pushing the boundaries of piano design, Klavins crafted this instrument using an open frame with a thin, ribless soundboard to produce a highly resonant tone. The open design enables the sound to unfold freely. Klavins is also the creative force behind the Klavins Piano Model 370i – the world’s largest upright piano, which became the basis for THE GIANT virtual instrument.
Musician, composer, and producer Nils Frahm commissioned the piano and played an integral role in its development. To expand the available sonic textures and create new sound design possibilities, Frahm contributed fabric preparations, placing different fabrics between the hammers and strings, and moving hammers closer to strings to further alter the sound. While fabric preparations are generally used to dampen strings and soften tones, Frahm’s preparations also produce rich, percussive textures with additional overtones.

Klavins built an 88-key version of the piano specifically for Native Instruments. Uli Baronowsky and Galaxy Instruments transformed that distinctive creation into UNA CORDA – a unique virtual instrument that infuses new sonic colors into contemporary classical, film music, jazz, pop, and electronica. Baronowsky faithfully captured the piano by working closely with Klavins and drawing inspiration from the ways in which Frahm uses the instrument.
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