Elton John

Elton John has had a varied and illustrious career dating as far back as 1965 when he began backing, touring American Soul and R&B musicians such as Major Lance, Doris Troy and the Bluebells.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for John though. With a slew of setbacks early on in his career you would think he may have given up. But sometimes getting turned down for one thing can lead free you up to accept something far better, as was the case for John after failing a lead vocalist audition for Liberty Records.

A chance meeting with a talented lyricist, Bernie Taupin, led to them becoming staff songwriters for a fledgling music company in 1968. They collaborated at a phenomenal rate with Taupin writing a song an hour, every few weeks and John adding backing music, sometimes in as little as half an hour.

The writing combination of John and Taupin has seen the production of hits like: “Rocket Man”, “Crocodile Rock,” “Daniel,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “The Bitch Is Back,” and “Philadelphia Freedom” and has kept John at the top of the charts for more than 30 years.

There’s no denying the raw talent of John and a close study of any of his songs will lead to an education in chordal arrangements and the use of inverted chords, modulation and rock steady beats.

And, if there’s ever been a more prolific songwriter and performer in the modern era, Elton John has got to be up there with the Beatles. A tireless songwriter – an album a year for many years, with a flamboyant on stage persona, he has successfully fought a cocaine addiction and overcome bulimia to continue writing and performing for over four decades. He has written for film and donated the proceeds of his singles to Charity and named a Knight of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

Watch Elton’s performance of “Rocket Man” and “Philladelphia Freedom”:

Roland HP-207

With a lot of piano reviews, you will hear the often repeated two-most-important-aspects of choosing a digital piano: touch and tone. Touch because you want to find a digital piano that closely resembles the real life feel of an acoustic piano which will give you that realistic ‘heavier’ feel of the low register and the ‘lighter’ feel of the notes in the higher register.

And tone, because tone is everything. Tone provides warmth and emotion to any piece of music and a digital piano that has captured the tone of an acoustic piano well, is one that you will enjoy playing on.

Which brings us to the Roland HP-207, the flagship model in the HP series. This digital piano features “an ultra-realistic 88-key multi-sampled piano sound” which captures the distinctive sound qualities of each note and faithfully reproduces it, right down to the string striking the hammer.

You can also control the design of the piano with the HP-207s Piano Designer function, which gives you full control over all aspects of the piano sound. It allows you to effective raise the top of the grand piano, alter the damper resonance and change the key touch to meet your playing comfort.

These features alone, make the 207 well worth a play. But like any half-decent digital piano, there are added features, such as effects and additional piano sounds. The HP-207 features Reverb, 4-band-equalizer, and tone effects to name a few. It boasts a massive 337 tones which you can layer any two together or split the keyboard with a tone each for the upper and lower registers.

If you’re concerned with polyphony, you won’t have a problem with the HP-207s max of 128 voices, which means your notes will be sustained longer without being lost among the other notes being played.

It has onboard memory containing 99 songs as well as the option to save to external memory. You can save your files as standard MIDI as well as playing them back in addition to Roland Original Format (i-format), standard WAV files and CDs.

There’s certainly enough features to keep you amused here, but the resounding impression you will be left with is the authentic tone and the realistic touch of a grand piano.

To hear just how great the HP-207 sounds and to give you some ideas of what is possible, check out the following video: