Is this the future of keyboard-playing?

The piano has pretty much stayed the same since the instrument was first invented back in the early 18th Century. Yes, we’ve now got digital pianos and synthesisers which add a wider range of sounds, but the basic keyboard layout and control protocol (harder = louder) has fundamentally stayed the same.

ROLI Seaboard GrandThe inventors of the Seaboard Grand hope to change this. Their take on the instrument adds the ability to modify pitch and other sonic elements without having to use a separate pitch bend or mod wheel, basically giving the instrument a third dimension beyond pitch and velocity. This gives keyboard players the kind of expressivity previously only available to guitarists and non-fretted instrument players (erm… that’s quite a lot of instruments, but hey).

The techies amongst us might point out that this has always been possible using aftertouch, but this is supposedly different. And the keyboard’s made of foam. Which is nice. Possibly.

Check it out in action:

What do you think? Is this a game changer? The future of keyboard-playing? Or is it another Eigenharp – innovative but ultimately not commercially viable?

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Guitar-plucker, piano-tinkler, sonic-mangler, Red Dog Music-owner, lion-tamer, and Weetabix-devourer. One (or more) of these is a lie.

Join the discussion! What do you think?