The Stack Archive

Seaboard brings the soul to electronic music

Mon 18 Jan 2016

Seaboard Roli

A new instrument has been devised to bring soul and emotion back to electronic music. London-based company Roli has accomplished this aim with the creation of the Seaboard.

The Seaboard is available in two formats: While the Seaboard Grand is the larger and more expensive, the Seaboard Rise is more affordable and portable. Both formats aim to bring the natural soul of acoustic instrumentation to a keyboard through a series of special applications. However, it also allows some of the variation of a computer programme.

This ‘best of both worlds’ approach is achieved by playing the keys like a piano and also by moving the finger on the surface of the Seaboard like a violin – which then ‘bends’ the sound.

There are five principal ways to modify sounds: Strike (how hard you hit any of the keys); Press (how much pressure is applied to the key); Glide (the back and forth motion of fingers on keys); Slide (up and down motion of fingers on keys); and Lift (how fast you lift your finger off the key).

Other notable features of the Grand include continuous touch. This allows you to modulate the volume and timbre through one constant motion. The Grand’s low-friction Glissando ribbons also make it simple to play one keywave and then slide to any other keywave that you select through one fluid movement.

A free app has also been introduced for the iPhone 6S. Entitled ‘Noise’, this app imitates the Seaboard Rise’s functionality – basically, it allows you to use your phone as a miniature version of the Rise. The five tactile dimensions of the Seaboard can be experienced through the Noise app, which also includes 25 sounds to choose from. If you want to add extra sounds, then you can also buy Noise packs which can broaden the musical enjoyment further. The app was a big hit with more than 100,000 downloads achieved in three weeks.


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