MINOR PLOT SPOILER: If you’ve seen the much-acclaimed film La La Land, you’ll know it features a lot of piano. But you may also have noticed Ryan Gosling’s character playing a rather strange looking instrument when on stage with The Messengers.
The instrument in question is a Seaboard GRAND. Some may have seen this before – it first appeared in 2013. This is a remarkably different self-contained keyboard designed by ROLI.
Roland Lamb, a graduate of Harvard, and London’s Royal College of Art founded ROLI with a view to developing a more expressive keyboard instrument, one that takes modulation to a new level.
As can be seen from the clip, the keys of the Seaboard GRAND are laid out like a conventional keyboard and respond to pressure and position. The sound is continually modified by the precise movement of the player’s fingers.
In the film, the use of this revolutionary keyboard is designed to highlight Gosling’s move away from his first/second (?) true love – the piano.