March 9, 2013

New Seaboard Grand – The ‘Evolution Of The Piano Keyboard’

Oddly enough, I was just speaking about the idea of touch sensitive technology imbedded inside of a keyboard to add more feeling and gesture to each note.  One interesting creation actually took the pitch and modulation wheels and deleted them, leaving the keys themselves the ability to add gesture to the sound being played.  Although parts were deleted from the piano, it still looked very much like a piano – which is what most people expect.  Now, when you see a device that is supposed to look like a piano, and it doesn’t, you have a few thoughts running through your mind.

Enter the Seaboard Grand, by ROLI.  This device looks more like a massager for an office chair than it does a musical instrument.  The keys are all but eliminated, leaving only room for a quasi piano key surface with bumps that represent buttons.  I was very skeptical about how well it would work, and then I actually watched the video being performed.  The execution of this device was simply genius.  The man playing the Seaboard is able to do add twills at the of notes and even go flat at times, all by moving his hand away from the note he was pressing.