Review: Dulciano by Fracture Sounds


Fracture Sounds have a reputation for creating beautiful boutique pianos. In Dulciano, Fracture Sounds have given us a unique hybrid instrument that is part hammered dulcimer part grand piano. This is a well-recorded instrument that could add a unique flavor to many tracks. While this instrument will not be for everyone, it is a best in class for the unique sound it provides.

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Review: Dulciano by Fracture Sounds

Fracture Sounds are back with another boutique instrument that is unique, useful, well-programmed, and beautiful. Dulciano is probably the best example of a single technique prepared piano I have come across. A grand piano performed with dulcimer hammers is not something you will be using every day, but when you do, it will offer a ton of character and sonic beauty to your tracks.

Dulciano Main

Dulciano sells for $79.00 from Fracture Sounds


Fracture Sounds first captured my attention with their gorgeous piano instrument, Woodchester Piano; a beautifully recorded upright felt piano. I have a thing for felt pianos with their gentle and mellow tone and found Woodchester Piano to be one of the best values in the market, offering a gorgeous tone and the innovative addition of something called “Atmospheres”; essentially playable pad sounds that can be dialed in to taste, adding interest, warmth, and tons of wow factor. Fracture Sounds followed up this fantastic Kontakt instrument with another beauty, Midnight Grand. Midnight Grand, the flagship piano in the Fracture Sounds collection, is another well-recorded piano with plenty of character and style to become the go-to instrument of many virtual composers. In Dulciano, Fracture Sounds have come back to the table with a unique hybrid piano instrument that is completely different than either Woodchester Piano or Midnight Grand. Dulciano is a grand piano that is performed in a single unique way – with dulcimer hammers!

I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, so I am very familiar with the beautiful, sustained tone of the hammered dulcimer. For those who haven’t experienced this beautiful instrument, the hammered dulcimer is a percussive stringed instrument which consists of a large number of strings stretched over a trapezoidal resonant soundboard. It is played with small mallet hammers which evoke a beautiful, clear, sustained tone that is unlike any other instrument I’ve heard – until now. With Dulciano, Fracture Sounds have transformed the soundboard of a grand piano into a beautiful hammered dulcimer-like instrument. You might have played with a prepared or plucked piano before, but I’m betting you haven’t heard anything quite like the beauty of grand piano strings played by dulcimer hammers. Dulciano is unique and beautiful.

As with their other Kontakt instruments, Fracture Sounds have done an excellent job of creating a clean, attractive, and simple to use Kontakt interface. The front of the interface allows for plenty of sound control while not overwhelming the user with too many options. There are three mic positions on offer here that can be dialed in to taste: Close, Mid, and Far. These mic positions can be singled out or blended to add depth and richness to the sound. The instrument was recorded in a modern concert hall and really shines in that setting.

One of the new controls Fracture Sounds has brought to the table this time is a “Perspective” control, allowing you to blend the three microphones simultaneously with the slide of a single dial.

This is a useful feature for those of us who hate to constantly tweak individual sliders (that’s me!). Those familiar with Midnight Grand will notice the familiar “Colour” and “Reverb” controls, but gone are the controls for Stereo Width and, sadly, for the atmospheric layers I have come to love from the other instruments in the Fracture Sounds catalog. The atmospheric layers were a real highlight of Midnight Grand and Woodchester Piano, so I was a little disappointed not to find them here. However, there is a unique “Rolls” control that truly takes this instrument to a whole other level of performance. One of the characteristic features of the hammered dulcimer is the roll of the dulcimer hammers upon the strings. Not only can this be done within Dulciano, but the programming behind this feature is particularly brilliant. Through use of the modwheel, the user can slowly or quickly dial in hammer rolls while playing, leading to an authentic feel that users might not expect from a virtual instrument. This is a very nice touch that, in my opinion, really makes the library shine.

Dulciano Settings

As with Woodchester Piano and Midnight Grand, Fracture Sounds have included a settings button (the gear icon located beneath the instrument name) that allows the user to have even more control over the sound and responsiveness of the instrument. There are controls for Velocity Response, Sample Start position, seven reverb impulse response options, and the ability to turn Aftertouch on/off. Another nice addition to Dulciano is the second NKI file included for muted playing. The controls here are all the same, but the strings are of course muted rather than sustained. This adds a little variety to what could otherwise be a very limited instrument.

All in all, in Dulciano, Fracture Sounds have created a unique and beautiful hybrid piano instrument. While this instrument will obviously not appeal to everyone and will not be something anyone reaches for every day, it is very useful for those looking for a unique and authentic hammered dulcimer sound.


Ducliano offers three microphone positions recorded in a modern concert hall setting. It includes up to 12 round-robins, downloads as 5.5GB, and is available for Kontakt 5.3 or above.

Dulciano sells for $79.00 from Fracture Sounds


Demos of Dulciano by Fracture Sounds

Videos of Dulciano by Fracture Sounds

Contributor Raborn Johnson reviews Dulciano by Fracture Sounds
Fracture Sounds have given us a unique part hammered dulcimer part grand piano that could add a unique flavor to many tracks. While this instrument will not be for everyone, it is a best in class for the unique sound it provides.”