For Q, the question is what's next?


By Dave Douglas

Jazz keyboardist Quincy Bullen livens up Long & McQuade’s Scarborough store with a Pianoteq software demo last weekend. Peter Tang photo
Jazz keyboardist Quincy Bullen livens up Long & McQuade’s Scarborough store with a Pianoteq software demo last weekend.
Peter Tang photo

What better way for musicians, music techies and music instrument test drivers to spend a Saturday morning than to be at Long & McQuade music store in Scarborough.

Most instrument stores are excited to share their instruments with you and let you give them a shot. They are always eager to show you a few things especially, those with new tech features.

On entering the store last Saturday, I was informed that a special demonstration was about to begin in the speakers and accessories section. Quincy Bullen, 22-year-old Toronto-based keyboard player and singer, was hosting a Pianoteq software demo.

It was good to see the young jazz keyboard wizard after that great performance he delivered at The Parasol concert in October.

Pianoteq is a virtual piano that runs on your computer. But what’s unique is its ability to reproduce with amazing realism the sound of the acoustic piano. It offers superb dynamics, natural resonances and unique physical parameters.

Its innovative features are based on physical modeling and real-time sound generation. This makes it the natural choice for demanding musicians including composers, producers and keyboardists.

Pianoteq also features other instruments such as harpsichords, electric pianos, vibraphones and historical instruments. The product is made in France by Modart and is marketed in Toronto by Music Marketing Inc., owned by Vincentian, Ray Williams.

Q, as I like to call Quincy, gave a brief explanation of the company that created the software and its devotion to efficiency. From there he explained the importance of each field: tuning, voicing, design and their similarities towards common synthesis.

He then got into showing specific highlights from the other aspects: scales from different eras, benefits of changing the strike point and increasing string length for simulating a larger piano.

About halfway through the demo, he went into the many forms of recording and mic placement, manipulation, choosing different mics and creating a surround-sound effect.

Nearing the end, he auditioned all the extra voices and showed a cool way to add years and recreate a vintage sound of wear and tear in an old piano. The product is expected to retail in the $300 range.

I was impressed with the product but equally impressed with Q’s ease around the tech stuff, making everything seem so easy.

Of course, one has to take into consideration that he grew up in a recording studio environment and the fact that his dad is Juno Award winner and top Toronto music producer Eddie Bullen but Q is already carving out his own niche.

I can only wonder, what’s next for him?