About

Welcome to my website!  This is my primary site and holds my blog, and all recent information.

I am a musician, and composer.  I am here to create, discover, and promote beauty and excellence in the arts.  I work primarily in music but I enjoy the arts tremendously, particularly the so called “fine arts”.

Some may find my emphasis on beauty and excellence to be limiting.  I’ll freely acknowledge that there are other possible goals for art besides beauty, and that excellence is awfully challenging to attain, and often frustrating.  But, while it is perfectly valid to explore ugliness as an aesthetic,  it is also true that I have no interest in pursuing it.  So, this site will be curated towards my biases, tastes, and even whims.  You may like it or hate it, and that is the wonderful thing about the Internet – you can find lots of other sites if this one doesn’t fit.  But if it suits you, you are welcome to join me in my explorations.  That’s my disclaimer.

I do like to write, and also to know why I believe what I do, and the two often intersect.  You will find both typical blog-sized ideas, as well as longer form essays on the site.  Some ideas need a bit of room to breath, and essays provide that vehicle.

I have eight children, a fantastic wife, and am blessed to be able to pursue life as a calling rather than a dreary chore.  I tend towards hope, and believe that excellence is worth the price of admission, even if it takes a long time and I’m not there yet.

I hope you enjoy your visit here and return often.

12 comments

  • Robert Martin (3 years)

    Hi Nathanael,

    If you ever decide to sell your VAX 77, please contact me. I will buy it.

    Thanks, and all the best to you.

    Robert Martin

    P.S. I agree, hope and excellence are worth the price of admission.

  • Mett (2 years)

    Hey, there no way I could email you with a request for hearing how VAX77 is exactly special and how it sounds with Hi-Res velocity? Hope you can demo within 3 days or I won’t be confidently back the new VAX in Kickstarter.
    There aren’t any proper reviews on VAX77 at all and hope someone can shred light on it.

    • Nathanael Iversen (2 years)

      Hi Matt! Sorry I missed this. The Kickstarter for the new VAX is over, but hopefully you took the risk. It is a fantastic keyboard, particularly with Pianoteq. It is very expressive. There’s a lot on the VAX77 on my site, so hopefully you found what you needed.

  • j (2 years)

    does the roli seaboard make sounds or is merely a controller that interfaces with software? i cant tell from the way the product is advertised….

    does the keyboard have audio outputs?

    • Nathanael Iversen (2 years)

      The Seaboard has both internal sound generating capabilities and also sends MIDI to interface with software. Roli makes their own very capable synthesis engine that is quite powerful and easy to use. It does have audio outputs, but I’ve not used them. I’m perfectly content to use it as a controller for soft synths.

  • Friendly greetings Nathaniel!

    I didn’t find a direct email contact so I hope you see this comment.

    I wanted to thank you for all your energy in sharing your musical experiences, particularly both your very well-articulated Seaboard posts and the video you made. They’re highly informative and excellently explained. At the end of the video, it sounded like there was going to be a second episode but I don’t see one.

    What have your Seaboard experiences been like more recently?

    • Nathanael Iversen (2 years)

      You are quite welcome! I’m glad you found my comments useful. I have been pretty busy at work the last several months. Just tonight I got everything updated to the latest and will spend some more time with it. My first attempt at programming Equator, I was not hearing magical results from the pressure dimension, was probably doing it too late at night, and I was not convinced I was getting all the expression I expected.

      I have also plugged it into my John Bowen Solaris synthesizer, which has an “Omni” mode, allowing it to receive data on all channels. The keyboard on the Solaris remains active. So, I was able to build a patch that was fully connected to velocity, pressure, etc. I could then play it from the Seaboard or from the Solaris. There was no comparison. Every note sounded tons better played from the Seaboard.

      So, perhaps unsurprisingly, some experience is helpful in finding the magic. Once you do it, it is pretty easy to repeat. I do find that very small parameter adjustments have a big difference. You can really customize patches to your own playing style with the “thresholds” for different modulations happening the way you want.

      I’ll have to see about doing a preset play-through for YouTube. That wouldn’t be very hard to do.

      • Nathanael, my apologies I spelled your name wrong.

        Thanks for the update, I think you are making some of the most helpful Seaboard resources out there, you really have a gift for communicating about music.

        That’s really fascinating to hear about Seaboard ➜ Solaris control.

        ROCK ON!

  • Don Snodgrass (2 years)

    I’ve just placed an advance order for the new Roli Seaboard Rise. I have no prior experience with any musical instrument. My aim to learn how to play the Rise without first learning how to play a keyboard. Is that achievable and, if not, what approach would you recommend? Your thoughts/advise is appreciated.

    • Nathanael Iversen (6 months)

      I’m sure it is! I believe that Roli now has a basic class from a Berkeley professor on using the Rise. Knowing how a piano is laid out is important for the organization of pitches, but the Seaboard can be touched a lot of ways that make no sense on a piano. Given that there are no standard teaching methods for it, everyone is going to learn something new when interacting with it, not matter how much keyboard training they have had!

  • Alex (1 year)

    Hi Nathanael! I saw your video on playing technique for the Seaboard, really fantastic discussion.

    I am assuming there is no semitone in the seaboard silicon waves between b & c, e & f. Can you elaborate on this? Does the interval stretch between those notes? So there is a greater distance between those notes in the upper and lower ribbon controllers?

    Thanks
    Alex

    • Nathanael Iversen (6 months)

      The Seaboard Grand has continuous pitch between semitones like e-f or b-c. There is no greater distance – the spacing is similar to a piano. The only limitation is that you can’t play b and c together or e and f together. You can certainly play them in sequence either discretely or by sliding between them.

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