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ROLI Play

ROLI Play  ·  Source: ROLI

ROLI has a new teaser video out for a new product that will be “The only keyboard that lets you play great songs, right away”.

ROLI wants to do something about how hard it is to learn to play the piano.  After all “it’s 2019 and our cars speak to us and drones deliver groceries”. All will be revealed on the 18th June in a new Kickstarter campaign. But in the meantime, I’m imagining it will be some sort of instant, one-finger, auto-accompaniment, music generating Blocks style keyboard with a companion app into which you can download the latest tunes.

But why is learning an instrument still so difficult?

It’s a good question and one, I imagine, that revolves around the idea that some things are simply worth your time. And of course we don’t have any time so if ROLI could do all the hard work for us then I could just get on with being entertaining on an instrument without all those years of bad notes, boring recitals and disapproving piano teachers.

So, what is it?

Well, the video tells us that ROLI is about to make learning music easy, fun and colourful with a new keyboard and an new and easy way to play the songs you love. You play, you jam, you learn and here’s a green jelly that looks like a brain. And it’s going to be very colourful. It’s the emphasis on colour and this image from the video that suggests that it has something to do with their Blocks product.

ROLI tease

ROLI tease

But we do know it’s a keyboard.

I’m reminded of a Kickstarter campaign from a couple of years ago called the Dodeka. It was a similar notion that playing an instrument is too hard and so they were going to reinvent the keyboard to make it much simpler. It didn’t reach it’s goal.

You’ve already got remixing and music making abilities in Blocks that takes no musical experience or aptitude, you just bash that squidgy block and music comes out. It could well be something along those lines. But that’s also to do the imagination and innovation of ROLI a disservice. They could be coming up with something really exciting. But honestly it’s the idea that music has to be simple that annoys me. Rather than complaining that learning the piano is difficult why not just go with the angle that they have a fabulous new way to make music because so many people make music with keyboards without ever having learned a thing. And that’s cool!

Guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

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