Some recordings I have made that may be useful for friends and others, and brief accompanying comments. Feel free to use them in your music! :-)
I recorded these toy piano samples on Sunday, November 6th, 2011 in the CCRMA Recording Studio, using my Macbook and a detached Peavy guitar pickup. The advantage of using such a setup is that the guitar pickup is completely unresponsive to sound transmitted through the air, and only reacts to a changing magnetic field. So, the samples have very little high frequency noise from the atmosphere (in fact, Hunter and Chris were playing the viola and piano just feet from me as I recorded this). One unintended side effect of using a magnetic pickup is that these samples include mysterious subtones that are normally not heard while playing the instrument. My working theory is that these subtones are actually from a torsional mode of vibration of the the tines of the toy piano, a mode that is very inefficient at transmitting energy into the atmosphere or soundboard of the instrument (and thus, normally silent), but that still contribute to a changing magnetic field. These subtones can be interesting, but you will likely find that they do not contribute much to a realistic sound, and may want to use your preferred method to filter out frequencies below ~200Hz (the instrument racks include one possible method, using Ableton's EQ 3 as a highpass filter).
(thanks to Chris for providing the toy piano)
I recorded these prepared piano samples in October, 2011 on the CCRMA stage using my Zoom H4n and its built-in stereo mic pair. The grand piano on the CCRMA stage had been prepared for a performance of John Cage's "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano," and I made recordings of each altered note, without and sometimes with the sustain pedal engaged (none of the notes above G#5 have a sustained version, as a consequence of my race against the recording time available to me).
(thanks to Sean for acting as my second set of hands while setting levels)
I recorded these drum machine loops in May, 2011 using the 1/4" input on my Zoom H4n. They were played by an old Lowery organ. The organ feaures quite a few different drum patterns: Ballad, Bossa Nova, Dixie, Latin Rock, March Polka, Rhumba, Rock I/II/II, Samba, Shuffle, Swing, Swing Waltz, and Waltz. I've synchronized each of the recordings to 70 bpm and provided a version of each pattern with and without snares, as well as a brush pattern for each. The organ's controls allowed you to turn the snares on and off, and control the balance between the brushes and the rest of the pattern - this setup seemed like the easiest way to retain the flexibility of the original controls. Get ready for some retro goodness.
(thanks to Sam for providing the organ)