Chick Corea Rhodes Samples Are Now a Free Download for the Yamaha Montage

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Yamaha has just announced the Chick Corea Mark V Sample & Performance Library for MONTAGE. This library features 16 all-new Performances, each programmed using data meticulously sampled from Chick Corea’s customized Mark V electric piano. This library is available as a free download from for users of the company’s MONTAGE synthesizer.

In 1984, renowned pianist Chick Corea worked with Harold Rhodes in the creation of the Stage 73 Mark V electric piano. Over the next ten years, Corea and his team developed what they called the Number One – replacing hammers, developing custom electronics and creating an instrument that reflected the singular talent and innovation of its owner.

In 2009, after enduring years of pounding from one of modern music’s most innovative composers and performers, the keyboard became too fragile to take on the road. Before being shipped into storage, however, Corea and his tech team painstakingly sampled every note at Mad Hatter Studios in Los Angeles. After months of searching for the right technology platform, Corea took the massive amount of data to industry-leading sound designers, who developed Chick’s Mark V Sample Library for the Yamaha MOTIF XF, the predecessor to the MONTAGE.

“MONTAGE users can now incorporate a piece of musical history into their own synthesizers at no cost,” said Nate Tschetter, product marketing manager, Music Production, Yamaha Corporation of America. “These custom Performances let you experience Chick’s unique Mark V coupled with the expressiveness of MONTAGE.”

Corea’s direct involvement in the process makes this sampling session unique. A specially developed vorsetzer player-piano mechanism helped capture pristinely balanced velocities across the entire keyboard scale. The library contains all the original samples recorded in the meticulously engineered sampling sessions, and consists of 12 unlooped velocity layers and note offs. The full, natural sustain of each note is carefully maintained.

Part of what makes this collection unique is the custom hammer and pre-amp configuration of Chick’s original electronic piano instrument. At F# above Middle C, Corea and his team modified the hammers from the standard neoprene to wood, and sent the signal from those keys to a separate pre-amp with a specially designed EQ. This creates an almost split keyboard effect letting the treble notes ring with a clarity and punch unavailable on a standard Mark V. Chick’s Mark V loads directly into the MONTAGE integrated flash memory.

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