The Seaboard by ROLI is a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface. The Seaboard’s polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato, and per-note dynamic changes are all available at the fingertips, marrying the intuitiveness of a traditional instrument with the versatility of digital technology.
One of the major features is the Continuous Touch. It enables you to sound a note and then take it on a musical journey, modulating its pitch, volume and timbre through one continuous gesture. It’s unique design, makes it easy to sense the slightest change in pressure, thus offering a far more organic experience than traditional aftertouch.
Another keyboard ability that has been refined and implemented on the Seaboard, is the Pitch Control. Slide a finger to the left to lower the pitch of a note; slide it to the right to raise it. The smooth feel of the playing surface lets you easily glide from one keywave to the next, or apply a nuanced vibrato to any note.
Volume and Timbre is also managed more easily. Pressing harder the note crescendos, while softening the touch and the note will soften to match. And with individual volume response to each note, the dynamics it enables are as expressive as they are intuitive.
By far the most impressive thing though, is the Glissando Ribbons. Running along both the top and the bottom of the playing surface are smooth pitch ribbons. They make it easy to start playing one keywave, then slide to any other keywave you choose in one fluid gesture, even allowing multiple notes to glissando independently at the same time.
Although this is a very impressive tool and could be a producer’s wet dream, it’s price could make it less then affordable to the regular Joe. Keep in mind that ROLI provides adopter prices, since the product is not available broadly to the public (not including shipping and tax).
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