One of the great things about working for Roland is that I get to spend time with amazing engineers and product specialists from all over the world. Hang with this crowd long enough and you start to learn about some incredible things our instruments can do, which may not be immediately obvious at first glance (we’re working on that part!). Here’s just one example, as demonstrated at the Musikmesse by the talented pianist and composer Mr. John Maul from the U.K…

Hidden Feature #318b: Whole Keyboard Chord Recognition


Roland BK-9 Backing Keyboard

Many Roland keyboards including the new FP-80 Digital Piano and BK-9 Backing Keyboard have extremely powerful and inspiring accompaniment features on board. Did you know, however, that unlike the days where accompaniments were controlled by chording in the left hand only, Roland’s latest “Backing” tech allows one to simply play freely, and the arrangement will follow along perfectly?

You really do have to try this to believe it. Just play your music as you wish, and the Backing engine in instruments like the FP-80 will figure out the appropriate harmony and generate amazing contemporary and classic accompaniments on-the-fly. Why would you play or practice solo any other way? For Pianists, now you can practice and jam along a “super-tight” rhythm section, while composers can improvise ideas as a professional studio orchestra sits in on the session. Too much fun!

V-Drums World Championship 2 (VDWC2)

I’ll leave it for Darren to share more of the backstory by separate blog post, but I simply have to comment briefly on what happened at the end of my second full day at Musikmesse.

As you may be aware, for the last few years Roland Canada has produced a national V-Drums Contest, where hundreds of Canadian drummers have challenged for the opportunity to play and compete at the Montreal Drum Festival in order to become our national champion. For the vdwc2_award_ceremony_3last 2 years, the national winner has gone on to battle with players from around the world for the title of Roland V-Drums World Champion. To make a long story short (and leave room for Darren’s prose), our latest Canadian Champion, Mr. Issah Contractor, traveled with Darren and I to Germany to compete against 16 incredible international drummers on the evening of Musikmesse Day 2, and wouldn’t you know it, HE WON!

Again, you can read more about Issah’s incredible journey and achievement as Darren posts, and you might even pick up the story in other media outlets soon. For now, allow me to say “Congratulations, Issah, and Go Canada Go!”.