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Free Piano VSTs ............................................................................................................ 1
Ivy Audio: Piano in 162 (Win/Mac) .................................................................................... 1
Tascam: CVPiano (Win) ....................................................................................................... 2
Yohng: 4Front R-Piano (Win/Mac) ..................................................................................... 2
Safwan Matni: Jazz Baby (Win) .......................................................................................... 2
Frozen Plain: Victorian Music Box (Win/Mac) ................................................................... 3
Free Orchestral VSTs ................................................................................................... 3
Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (Win/Mac) ....................................................................... 3
Blakus: pocketBlakus: Solo Cello (Win/Mac) .................................................................... 3
DSK Overture (Win) ............................................................................................................. 4
Samsara Cycle Audio: Ocarina (Win)................................................................................. 4
DSK Brass (Win) ................................................................................................................... 4
Free Drum / Percussion VSTs ................................................................................... 5
Subaqueous Music: Free Taiko Drum Rack ...................................................................... 5
Samsara Cycle Audio: Kettle Drum (Win) ......................................................................... 5
Mildon: Otobongo (Win) ...................................................................................................... 6
Samsara Cycle Audio: Tabla (Win) .................................................................................... 6
Free Guitar VSTs ........................................................................................................... 6
Ample Sound: AGM Lite II (Win/Mac) ............................................................................... 6
DSK Guitars Acoustic (Win) ................................................................................................. 7
Free Vocal / Choir VSTs .............................................................................................. 7
Ivy Audio: Clare Solo (Win/Mac) ........................................................................................ 7
DSK ChoirZ (Win).................................................................................................................. 7
Tronsonic: The Expressive Tron (Win/Mac) ..................................................................... 8
Free Ethnic VSTs ........................................................................................................... 8
DSK Asian DreamZ (Win) .................................................................................................... 8
DSK World StringZ (Win) ..................................................................................................... 8
DSK Indian DreamZ (Win)................................................................................................... 9
Free Ambient, Sound Effects, and Sci-Fi VSTs ...................................................... 9

Xoxos: Sounds Of Nature (Win) ......................................................................................... 9


DSK: Ethereal PadZ 2 and Darkness Theory 3 (Win) ..................................................... 9
HG Fortune: Altair 4 (Win) ................................................................................................ 10
Sasje: Dark Drones (Win/Mac) ......................................................................................... 10
Free VST Sites ............................................................................................................. 10
About the Author .................................................................................................................... 11
About Midi Film Scoring ......................................................................................................... 11

Every composer has had to devote several hours over the course of many years to
learning about composing music. Each VST instrument or tool we use for composing
has its own learning curve, and once we pass the time it takes to learn a program, we
can creatively and freely compose music.
More often, what takes longer than learning how to use a new program is finding that
program in the first place. The Internet is filled with a huge variety of audio loops as
well as top-quality VST plugins many of which are free but out of those, less are
high quality and worth the time to learn to use.
This resource will help decrease the time it takes to find the best free VST instruments,
allowing for more time to learn each one and begin composing music with it. These
VSTs are what I call the essentials: a basis of instruments to get in your collection,
learn to use well, and then eventually build off of.

Free Piano VSTs


Out of all other instruments, piano is one of the most necessary when composing for
cinematic styles of music. It's easy to leave out much of the dynamics when making a
synth version of a piano. As a result, high-quality sampled piano VSTs are often very
expensive. Here are a few of my favorite free piano VSTs and a few other useful pianostyle VSTs.

Ivy Audio: Piano in 162 (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
Piano in 162 is possibly the best free piano VST and arguably better than a lot of
expensive VSTs as well. It's a sample library of a Steinway grand piano that brings a
large, epic feel that is difficult to simulate.
It's available for Kontakt, and if you don't use Kontakt, they also have SFZ format to
download as well. I used this one in Kontakt and I really like the simple user interface.
Adjusting the close and the ambient meters can give you a lot of variety in the VST
before even using any external effects. For my classical-style piano album, "Passing Of
A Day," I experimented with a number of piano plugins and layered effects overtop to
simulate a live performance, and this free VST held its own against an expensive plugin
I had purchased.
Piano in 162 is ideal for composers who need anything from a faint piano melody
behind an eerie synth or a full soundtrack centered around a full real-sounding piano
itself; this VST can do it all. The only caution is that it is over 5 GB of space. It's
definitely worth the space and a great deal to get, but if you don't have that kind of
space available, then the next VST by Tascam is for you!
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Tascam: CVPiano (Win)


Free VST Download
This one has some awesome benefits as well that make it one of the best free piano
VSTs. It's based on a 7'4" KAWAI grand piano, which I will always choose over a synth
or upright piano.
Compared with many high-end piano plugins, the major bonus with the way Tascam
created this one is that it uses significantly less CPU and memory. In orchestral
composing, CPU becomes more and more of a concern, and Tascam used a method
that allowed enormous versatility to the dynamic expression you can get from the
piano.
This piano has all the workings for any sounding piano needed. Just adjust the mic
positions and reverb for either an upfront classical-style soundtrack, or distant and
more reverb for an epic and suspenseful song.

Yohng: 4Front R-Piano (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
This is another piano VST that's even easier on space than the Tascam. The user
interface is extremely simple, and the sound of the piano could be used for a variety of
video game soundtrack styles. It would especially work well with retro or vintage video
games.
The major difference with this piano is that it isn't based off a real piano it's designed
to imitate a specific keyboard, and it has a vintage overdrive on top of the sound. There
aren't really any customization options, but for the little space it takes up, it achieves its
purpose as a simple straightforward keyboard VST.

Safwan Matni: Jazz Baby (Win)


Free VST Download
As composers, at times we may run into a situation where we need to quickly compose
music for a restaurant or a specific decade. Jazz is a much-needed genre that can be
forgotten about, so it's always good to be prepared with a decent jazz piano VST.
Jazz Baby is another very small and simple VST. It wasn't designed to be a multigenre,
versatile piano; it's purely for the purpose of expressing an aged feeling in an old casino
or bar. It also works well in a western setting.

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Frozen Plain: Victorian Music Box (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
This is a VST that I have personally used many times in several genre styles. A music
box can be used in place of a piano in a soundtrack; in the background it can sound like
a distorted piano. Or, in a more literal aspect, it can be used for the sound that is
coming out of a music box in a movie or game.
The reason this specific music box is my favorite is that it is very genuine sounding; I
wouldn't be able to tell that it wasn't a real music box. Also, with all of the
customizations in the VST, you get more than just a music box: It can become an
ambient synth and many other interesting sounds depending on how you use it.

Free Orchestral VSTs


Depending on the type of soundtrack you're working on, orchestral instruments can be
even more important than a piano. In my experience, they're the hardest VSTs to find
free and good quality.

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
One of the most amazing things for a soundtrack composer starting out is to be able to
have a complete orchestra. When I first started composing orchestral music with MIDI,
I was privileged to find this orchestra. No matter what soundtrack you're making
whether an indie film or a futuristic video game this orchestra has something that you
can use. It contains several strings, brass, woodwinds, grand piano, chorus, and a lot of
percussion.
This VST is the best free resource I have. It sets you up with the essentials of an
orchestra, and from there you can use other VSTs to add to it. The format is SFZ, which
can be used in a sampler, or you can use the free SFZ players that are readily available.
I thought the quality was excellent; I loaded them into Kontakt and began using the
string section immediately to expand my piano soundtracks into full orchestras.

Blakus: pocketBlakus: Solo Cello (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
The previous Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra contains all the string sections; however,
when using a solo instrument as a focus in a soundtrack, especially a romantic or a
historical period drama, the higher the quality the better. The wonderful thing about
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this VST is that it has such clean and real-sounding vibrato and movement an
awesome addition to your orchestra.

DSK Overture (Win)


Free VST Download
The difference is very great between synths that are designed to sound like string
instruments and VSTs that are actual recorded instruments. DSK Overture, however,
really brings an impressive synth to the table of orchestral instruments. This VST works
really well with fantasy adventure video game soundtracks that are orchestra-based yet
don't have quite a "real" sound.
The user interface is very cool and it has 4 layers for you to toggle the instruments and
how each is playing. The built-in effects sound very high-end, and it contains 40
different orchestral instruments that you can mix and mold to your liking.

Samsara Cycle Audio: Ocarina (Win)


Free VST Download
In fantasy adventure movies and games alike, the ocarina often has a presence. The
ocarina even became the focal point of one of the best-selling adventure games in
history all the more reason to have a go-to good-sounding ocarina at your fingertips!
This ocarina has 8 different presets and loads of knobs for customizing. It's the perfect
all-in-one ocarina VST.

DSK Brass (Win)


Free VST Download
As I mentioned before, jazz can be a genre that we forget to prepare for composing. To
go along with the jazz-style piano I recommended, this is a brass VST that is specifically
designed to imitate a small jazz group. With plenty of customization options, DSK Brass
has two instruments contained in each VST that can be swapped out (saxophone,
trumpet, etc.) and just like all DSK VSTs they have great-sounding effects built in.

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Free Drum / Percussion VSTs


In addition to the awesome percussion that comes in Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra,
here are a few other free drum VSTs that are important to have in your collection.
Sometimes the key to having an epic drum section powering through a heavy rhythm is
to have multiple layers of different drums playing together.

Subaqueous Music: Free Taiko Drum Rack


Free VST Download
Not only are taiko drums a requirement for nearly all epic movie and game themes, but
this VST even more so. It's a free pack that Subaqueous made available for any DAW;
for Ableton users he made an Ableton pack as well as SFZ and one-shot samples.
These are wonderful-quality taiko drums, better than I have heard in any free taiko
before. The live pack is amazing because he layered a ton of different hits under each
hit, which gives you the ability to customize nearly endlessly, and it also gives a huge
real-sounding variety to every hit.
In my song "The Coming War," I added a low-pass filter to the lowest-sounding one so
that I had a very deep impact as the song built up. Gradually the strong, full-sounding
taiko drums come out for each downbeat mixed with some electronic percussion. This
VST is perfect for getting heavy, epic taiko drums and using them for unsettling deep
impacts.

Samsara Cycle Audio: Kettle Drum (Win)


Free VST Download
The same makers of the ocarina I recommend created Kettle Drum, which is a timpani
drum VST. It may seem that timpani is mostly needed just for typical classical music,
but after listening closely to the majority of huge Hollywood movie soundtracks, timpani
drums are very regularly used. Most themes made for battle scenes have timpani in
them, so the more drums in your collection the better.
With this simple VST, you can adjust everything you would need to change on a set of
real timpani drums: pitch, vibrato, shape, and of course, each EQ.

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Mildon: Otobongo (Win)


Free VST Download
No composer's instrument collection is complete without a set of bongos. These are
very simple, with just a volume knob and a hi-pass knob.
Bongos can be used in several genres of soundtrack music. Subtle light percussion in an
epic battle theme pairing with the violins in between each heavy low hit on the
downbeat. They can also be paired nicely with guitars for a scene in the country, the
Wild West, or a peaceful future free from technology. This is a straightforward, greatsounding VST.

Samsara Cycle Audio: Tabla (Win)


Free VST Download
Another great addition from Samsara percussion and drums sampled from an Indian
tabla. This VST includes 16 sample selections with a very cool bend control option. It's a
great VST for immersing your listeners into another country's culture. Whether you're
scoring for a film in another country or an action game that crosses over different
borders, this VST is a great find.

Free Guitar VSTs


Guitars have been accompanying orchestras and other instruments in soundtracks for
many years. Electric guitars can help convey aggression in a war scene or a one-on-one
fight. An acoustic guitar can reflect peace and serenity.

Ample Sound: AGM Lite II (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
Ample Sound has instruments for bass and electric guitar as well, but their free acoustic
guitar VST is excellent. It has the perfect sound for a soundtrack backing a sad drama.
Even realistic strumming is attainable. The effects pedals that come with it work well for
adding delay to a single pluck of a string, giving emotionality to a dark or depressing
scene.

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DSK Guitars Acoustic (Win)


Free VST Download
Just like the previous guitar VST, DSK also has bass and electric guitar VSTs. But DSK
even has an acoustic nylon string and steel string for added variety depending on what
you need from your guitar. To my taste, the Ample Sound has a more well-rounded
sound for a real guitar, but DSK has a lot of different options to choose from. Also, this
VST has a sound that leans toward more of a blues or jazz feel, which could work really
well for a romance drama.

Free Vocal / Choir VSTs


Real-sounding human voices are extremely difficult to imitate well with synths. Because
of the cost of recording a group of professional singers, true recording vocal libraries
can be expensive. Depending on your need for vocal parts, some loops can be used in
the background of a soundtrack. Here are three VSTs that can help fill in the gap.

Ivy Audio: Clare Solo (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
Clare Solo is, as its name suggests, a solo vocal library. Instead of the sound of a full
choir, it has a limited use for a beautiful solo female singer. Clare Solo isnt as full a VST
as Ivy Audios Piano in 162, but it can work well for a simple female melodic vocal line.
Even without any external effects, the voice has a very nice quality. The major
difference between this VST and the next two is that the next ones are not designed to
sound like realistic voices, so keep this one on hand.

DSK ChoirZ (Win)


Free VST Download
DSK has shown that they are a great resource for composers on a budget or just
starting out. They deliver good-quality, user-friendly VSTs in a huge variety. This VST
has three layers of vocal parts and individual filters and LFOs for each, giving you the
ability to make whatever choir you need. It wouldn't work as well for a solo singer, but
the other uses are extensive.
For any sci-fi game or movie that needs some pads or synths, use this and give it an
amazing organic sound. Any epic adventure soundtracks dealing with a temple, religious
place, or ancient civilization are not complete without this type of choir addition.

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Tronsonic: The Expressive Tron (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
The Expressive Tron continues along a similar idea, except it's composed of actual
recordings of flutes, strings, cellos, and choirs and re-recorded to worn tape. It
guarantees a unique character, but not the same high quality that DSK offers.
This is a very interesting VST to have for inspiration and the variety of flute, strings,
and choirs all together. It's ideal for adventure, fantasy, or sci-fi video games. It has a
unique vintage user interface that makes you want to tweak the tape rolls and speed
dials for more interesting expressions.

Free Ethnic VSTs


To go along with the previous tabla instrument, these are three instruments I have
found useful to help convey culture or location. They sound amazing, and all have a
selection of several instruments. Despite including between 6-8 instruments in each
one, they by no means let the quality suffer. Every one of these instruments can be
included into a full orchestra and will sound great.

DSK Asian DreamZ (Win)


Free VST Download
This is the best free collection I have found of Asian instruments, with 7 in total
everything you need to compose for a side-scrolling adventure game with levels in
China or Japan, or to bring some oriental feelings into a young adventurer's
orchestrated theme song. It even includes an Asian percussion kit.

DSK World StringZ (Win)


Free VST Download
Where DSK's Asian DreamZ leaves off, their World StringZ pick up. Instruments include
Celtic harp, koto, dulcimer, and 5 others. These instruments fit perfectly into any
soundtrack for a game or movie with a setting of Ireland or Scotland, as well as fantasy
time period movies or games involving a medieval or Renaissance timeframe.

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DSK Indian DreamZ (Win)


Free VST Download
Just like the previous two, this VST is another great find. This one focuses on the
instruments of India: sitar, sarod, and even a tabla. The veena is my favorite and works
really well for a sad theme. All three of these VSTs have excellent pass filters and
reverb that allow you to place your instrument where you want it in the virtual
orchestra or to create a slightly different instrument sound altogether.

Free Ambient, Sound Effects, and Sci-Fi VSTs


In today's popular styles of soundtrack music, there are most often a lot of synthesizers
and effects mixed in even with an orchestrated song. It's a great way to make the
orchestra fuller or build anticipation in a section without the strings. In a horror movie
or game, a quiet unsettling ambient effect will be evolving until the frightening impact
and event. These synthesizers are easier to find free, and they are more often good
quality. Sound effects can often be used just from a .wav file and mixed into the
background of a soundtrack to add some depth.

Xoxos: Sounds Of Nature (Win)


Free VST Download
Nature is a set of a couple of different VSTs. The one entitled Fauna produces synthetic
animal vocalizations a very useful tool if your music needs any growls or animal
noises in the background.
The other one, Oscine, includes bird noises, rain, insect sounds, thunder, and wind.
Especially being free, these are really interesting programs and complete in a set
together.

DSK: Ethereal PadZ 2 and Darkness Theory 3 (Win)


Free VST Download (Ethereal PadZ 2)
Free VST Download (Darkness Theory 3)
If you haven't figured out by now, DSK is an extremely extensive resource for new
soundtrack composers. Not only do they have several orchestral instruments for free,
but they also have pads like these two that have the ability to create a lot of the really
intriguing textured synths that are heard in so many popular soundtracks. Powerful scifi, suspense, or horror genres absolutely need these types of pads.

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HG Fortune: Altair 4 (Win)


Free VST Download
Altair 4 is a must-have for any suspense and horror composer. Even sci-fi and fantasy
genres could really benefit from this VST. The sounds that come out of Altair are the
most synthetic and artificial you can come up with.
With 3 LFOs for your use, there are a lot of wobbling and eerie sounds you can place
into a soundtrack or just use to create background interest.

Sasje: Dark Drones (Win/Mac)


Free VST Download
Dark Drones is one of my most recent favorite finds. I loaded it into Kontakt and was
amazed at the quality. Sasje created 42 individual drones with knobs for scream,
crunch, and flanger. As you can imagine, the potential for sounds is endless when you
include the EQ and tune knobs.
I really enjoy this one because it's really dark and heavy. Depending on the soundtrack
it's used for, if it's really artificial and electronic, you can bring the scream or crunch on
and have some disturbingly gritty sounds to move in and out through your soundtrack.
Just like with real instruments, the better your instrument sounds and the higher the
quality of its design, usually the music will be better. But today there are so many
awesome free instruments and resources for soundtrack composers. In the right hands,
combined with just the right amount of compression and reverberation, amazing movie
and video game soundtracks can be made.

Free VST Sites


In addition to these instruments that I have found useful, I do use samples on occasion
as well. Here are some websites that I use often and follow for instruments and sample
packs that eventually become my favorites, or at least to help flesh out a theme or
soundtrack.
Bedroom Producers Blog
http://bedroomproducersblog.com
DSK Music
http://www.dskmusic.com

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VST 4 FREE
http://www.vst4free.com

About the Author:


Jordan Livingston, working under the name Audio Overpass, has a longstanding
career in the industry. Over the course of 20 years, he has studied music theory and
composition and has been classically instructed in piano performance, as well as selftaught on several other instruments. He has studied the instruments in each section of
an orchestra, to expertly record and master. Using that knowledge in combination with
modern programs and virtual instruments, he composes scores for video games and
films. With his musical background and his training in orchestration and electronic
mastering, he merges the boundaries between different styles and genres for unique
soundtrack experiences.
audiooverpass@gmail.com
https://audiooverpass.wordpress.com/music/
https://soundcloud.com/audiooverpass
**Please note that the author is not affiliated with Midi Film Scoring apart from his
contribution of this valuable resource. Therefore please direct all site-related
queries to the editor at info@midifilmscoring.com. Thank you!

About Midi Film Scoring:


Midi Film Scoring is a resource site for aspiring TV, film, and game composers. We
publish film scoring tips and tutorials, news about free VST instruments and the best
sample libraries, and other useful information for composers who work primarily with
virtual instruments and MIDI sequencers.
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