MPE sound design

MPE is one of the most exciting and riveting developments in electronic music. It allows for extremely expressive, very nuanced electronic sounds. When coupled with a suitable MPE MIDI controller we are able to create deep, expressive playing gestures in real-time, much like it is possible on a violin, a guitar, woodwinds, or any other acoustic instrument. We can mimic acoustic instruments much more closely or focus on electronic sounds and push them into new expressive territory all with our two hands, without the need of mod-wheels, pedals, knobs or faders. A player's dream!

I’ve been at the forefront of the MPE ‘revolution’ ever since I joined ROLI in November 2012. This was before MPE was even a thing. Back then, we used a different terminology, which some of us still use to this day. We used to call MPE sounds ‘5D’ or before we had 5 dimensions, 3D, which points to the three dimensions on the Seaboard GRAND (STRIKE, GLIDE, PRESS). Seaboard RISE introduced 5 dimensions: STRIKE, GLIDE, SLIDE, PRESS and LIFT. Thus, the term ‘5D’ was born to describe those five dimensions of touch.

I’ve lead the sound design department at ROLI creating sounds for the Seaboard GRAND, RISE, Blocks, Roli Drums - which not many people know, introduced world’s first 5 dimensional drums and drum kits! A truly revolutionary approach to interacting with complete drum kits. I hope to share my knowledge of MPE sound design on this website so please sign up to my newsletter.

5 Dimensional drums !

MPE instruments

There are many amazing MPE instruments nowadays. Besides the ROLI Seaboards and Blocks, I have played the Haken Continuum, Roger Linn Linnstrument, Madrona Labs SoundPlane and some Keith Macmillan instruments. There are many more being created all the time and we should count our lucky stars that MPE is becoming a real alternative to the mundane, standard MIDI keyboards that ruled supreme for so long. Choice is good. 

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