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The Piano Accordion goes digital

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February 6, 2005

The Piano Accordion goes digital

The Piano Accordion goes digital

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February 7, 2005 The steady march of digital technology continues to sweep all before it and the smallest member of the free-reed musical instrument family, the accordion, looks set to be next with the release this week of the Roland FR-5 and FR-7 V-Accordions. Based on Roland's proprietary Physical Behavior Modeling (PBM) technology, these lightweight, reedless digital accordions put dozens of ultra-realistic instruments at the player's fingertips and take one of the original musical instruments into the digital age.

The accordion's originas can be traced back 5000 years to the Chinese Sheng.

The introduction of the Sheng into Europe in the late 1700s stimulated the use of the free reed principle in the construction of organs and other instruments, including the development of the accordion. But the new Roland V accordions offer far more than just a single musical instrument.

Every modeled accordion onboard the FR-7/5 plays and reacts exactly like the real thing, down to the smallest nuance. But the V-Accordion doesn't stop with accordions and is capable of faithfully reproducing other instri=uments such as a grand piano, an acoustic guitar, or a brass or woodwind instrument.

The V-Accordions don't depend on moving parts to generate sound, which makes them virtually maintenance free and results in an instrument that's always in tune across a wide range of octaves.

Both accordions are lightweight and portable, with an onboard digital amplifier and rechargeable Ni-Mh battery pack (optional on the FR-5). For live performance, the FR-7 incorporates a pair of powerful lightweight neodymium woofers and tweeters for a consistent, full range low-end to high-end output. In addition, each V-Accordion can be plugged directly into a sound system or a recording device via a 1/4-inch cable. A headphone jack is offered for private practice

The V-Accordions are based on newly developed Physical Behavior Modeling algorithms that faithfully reproduce the characteristics and nuances of authentic accordions. They can simulate up to 30 different accordion sound sets, each including 14 Treble Registers, seven Bass & Chord Registers, and seven Free Bass Registers. The user-friendly interface enables switching instantly between accordion sounds.

In additional to the wide variety of accordion voices, the FR-5/7 houses 22 orchestral and pop sounds, all with full-bellows articulation. Orchestral sounds include Trumpet, Trombone, Sax, Clarinet, Oboe, Harmonica, Violin, Flute, Jazz organ, Percussive Organ, Human Voice, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, and Acoustic Piano, to name a few. Seven high quality Bass Orchestral sounds can be played separately by the left hand, including Acoustic Bass, Bowed Bass, Fingered Bass, Picked Bass, Fretless Bass, Baritone Tuba, and Baritone Tuba + E. Bass. Onboard MIDI functionality allows integration of sound modules, arranger keyboards, or external sequencers.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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