Old 08-17-2008, 03:13 PM   #1
adXok
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First take a time, go buy some popcorns and a beer and read this thread here:
http://www.thoughts.com/adXok/blog/p...evised-139229/

You may heard of it as Janko keyboard, Uniform Keyboard.
I had an idea of it almost 10 years back but thought it was
my stupid excuse for being lazy to learn play the piano!
So it was more than 125 years old idea... some peoples like
me are just its reminding echo through the century!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Now if you get it to this point here is what I would ask for Cockos team:
Could it be possible to make an additional MIDI sequencer view (optional) as it is with MIDI events
to show up as fixed lenght (drum mode)? Just an option for 'Show MIDI sequencer as Janko's design'.

Did I wrote Janko?! Oh, yes he was back then 120 years ago the man who created the idea of such a
piano keyboard design. None listened to him, although Franz Liszt (the great pianist and composer)
at his declining years once said:
"This invention will have replaced the present piano keyboard in fifty years' time!"
He wasnt' right because the young students had no teachers and most of them followed the rule that
the Sun, the Moon and the stars are spinning around the Earth and that should be it forever!
You may want to look here for more historical info: http://www.pianoworld.com/fun/janko.htm

To be honest I arrived at the conclusion without knowing that Paul von Janko has lived anyway. Total
independently a couple of years back. And I do not want to be claimed as the author of the idea.
I'm just maybe the echo from the century past death of Paul von Janko. The company Korg
made an electronic synthesizer based on the Janko's design back in 2003-2004 but I do not like
their design, it is infantile and trifle. And it is very expensive because it is a prototype:
http://chroma.jp/what/index.html

That's why I never looked up if there was such a MIDI keyboard or synthesizer. The PC keyboard was
a perfect approximation for that, although the issues of limited polyphony. But it was cheap and a
good starting point.

Now there must be a software and many people around the globe will see how easy it is to play piano.
Not the good-old piano keyboard though! It seems like REAPER would be the perfect environment
for that to make come true.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

In fact this post is about the PC keyboard similar design and
how by using it as appropriate assigned MIDI keyboard the idea could spread all over the world just at first with a regular cheap PC keyboard, then by using REAPER and its sequencer if Cockos Team make it come happen!

I've sent an e-mail to Florian Bomers of Bome's Software
http://www.bome.com/products/
so lets see if something will happen at least this century (and from 01.012001 it's the next millenium in fact)!

Last edited by adXok; 08-17-2008 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:33 AM   #2
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quote: "he was back then 120 years ago the man who created the idea of such a piano keyboard design. None listened to him, although Franz Lisz.... at his declining years once said: "This invention will have replaced the present piano keyboard in fifty years' time!"

He wasnt' right because the young students had no teachers and most of them followed the rule that the Sun, the Moon and the stars are spinning around the Earth..."

??? I think you're JUST a bit off with the Galilean time-line!

Pretty cool to learn about the Janko, (thanks!) but I have no idea why anyone would want to emulate this in a DAW. What could this possibly benefit?
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:55 AM   #3
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As a keyboardist and Janko advocate, I tend toward viewing this as a performance-enhancing technology rather than something that will improve the visualization of the recorded performance data. The redundancy of rows makes it kind of inefficient as a visualization IMO.

Specifically, the killer feature of this layout is that you can freely transpose your performance without changing the fingering at all. Everything's fingered the same in every key.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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Interesting idea, but wouldn't this be better as a totally separate application? It could then work with any DAW. You'd just route MIDI from your DAW or keyboard into it and see it display stuff, or route its MIDI output back into your DAW to use it as a virtual keyboard.

Historically, I guess this was up against the same problem as Dvorak keyboards. Whilst they might be a slight improvement technically, the existing keyboard really isn't that bad, and the enormous user base of the existing setup means it's never going to succeed. (In this case, "never" means "for as long as people still build and use keyboards with the regular layout".)
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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The Gallilei's reference I wrote was irony, 'cause I still wonder why Gallilei had to convince The Holy Inquisition of what he claimed according to the works of Nikolay Kopernik and Jordano Brunno. Same with Janko, he had to quit his attempt in convincing the right people 'cause there was not much difference between him and Gallilei I think.
They both submit something new and prove the wrong paradigm of the old comprehension.

And yes I still believe that there has to be a DAW which first to include this idea in its sequencer.

Because it will be right to your hands if you want to start learnign it - your keyboard will be your good old PC Keyboard, no dead keys (though if you are with a regular PC keyboard you still may have problems with polyphony btw), no twisted chords. Just pure symmetry and simplicity! And after all who needs this sharps and flats. I do not need them!

I only have to sorry I didn't learn of Janko 10 years back from now. In fact I started searching for info on the Internet about n-roll-over PC keyboards and when I saw Janko's keyboard 3-4 months back from now I thought someone had broken into my stuff! But I was pleased to know that this man made it possible more than half a century before the computers came to the world.

I am a guitarist myslef. I only can play some basic chords on the piano. I'm only suggesting the name of the notes. And I am sure we should name them and stop using that old (maybe six houndred yeras from now it hasen't been improved) staff and score scribing. That's all.

After Galilei's death some people come to the conclusion that:
"Every new idea displacing the old claims had to pass three levels!
1. Deride
2. Resistance
3. Accepting

120 yerars of resistance should be enough IMO.

I am not coder or something I just know that when supported by some software or rather DAW like REAPER and the fact that your PC keybord will be the fist and easy MIDI keyboard to play to will spread the whole thing to the customer and then the industry shall make the real MIDI keyboard. I personaly want to start making those but I am total noob in hardware nad software developing so... I will test the n-roll over PC keyboards to see if they work correctly. The next is even easier for the manifactureres.

Cableaddict said:
"I have no idea why anyone would want to emulate this in a DAW. What could this possibly benefit?"
Tell me honestly whay now sequencers emulate piano-rolls and score staff in a DAW?! The reason is the same and is about to what the customer and mind is used to! Think is time for little paradigm shift.

the all new rob said:
"The redundancy of rows makes it kind of inefficient as a visualization IMO."
I think you stick to what literaly someone claime. You do not have to make such a MIDI keyboard with more than two rows of keys. Of course no! I do not know how Janko's keyboard key sounded in their pitch. I think that the three pairs of Janko's keyboard had respectivly the same pitch from left to right. I am not sure after all! He used a regular piano mechanism so left hand still have to play low pitches as it was and it is.
Whit the grand and "analog" pianos that is the common and maybe the ONLY way of note keys.
Now with the synthesizers it is not an obligation to set it like emulating the old left-lows to right-highs key pitches.
If you want though you can try with regular two rows of the new layout.

If you have the opportunity the second row above to be octave higher then you can play highest notes with your left hand just by moving it slightly above on the next pair-row keys!
Now someones like me use their PC keyboards the same way but still emulating the old piano layout. Why?! Why we have to have dead keys and all scales and chords be so different when transposing? It is irritating even on a real piano keyboard!

Everything's fingered the same in every key.
So why it has to be tough when it is possiible to be easy!

Something more! With more than one pair of key-rows you'll have repeating tones. I said about the left hand possibilty to play hiegh notes so what more?!

I play guitar and I make my tremolo on a single note. I admit that I am fast although not so as Yngwie Malmsteen or prog-death metal techical dudes out there (one of my favourite music styles btw) so if you try to play some trmolo on a piano keyboard you'll have to use a single key but it is not like direct alternate fingering or picking the string. The piano key is a hammer-mechanism or button mechanism in synthesyzers. So it has to have time to return itslef to be pressed again. It is nothing like direct touch to the string (although that hammer hits a string after all in pianos or making electric contact in synths) you have on a guitar or other string instrument. Everyone ever tried a tremolo on a piano knws that problem with muted sound when doing tremolo even. It is one of the most difficult technics on that instrument Bach used a lot in thrillers, grace-notes, tremoloe itself and so on. His masterpieces are the corner stones of piano techinque! Everyone knows it.

So you now... two different keys for the same tone depends on how you'll set up the octaves of rows. Easy and mobile!

But we are here to discuss if it will happen in REAPER as first DAW ever supporting this keyobard. The MIDI program is there: Bome's MIDI Translator and is a killer! So now the ball is in REAPER.

-------------------------------------
grab
I think we cannot compare Dvorak letter keyboard layout with music notes and piano design. I am not english philologist but I can asure you that in my language (bulgarian) we have two systems. One (which I use + one I've created for myself personaly) is simple and where you have a latin letter on the PC keyboard (QWERTY in most cases) its phonetic and/OR Symbolic similarity is a letter in my language. So A is A, E, and so on. But we have also another layout where the vowels are left and the others are right. Stupid but when you have 30 letters it's better somehow but not for me. Dvorak seem to suggest that with electricity the mechanical problems solved with QWERTY system was not in concern anymore. So he statisticly made some conclusions about letters in use but:
The Dvorak layout was intended for the English language. In other European languages, letter frequencies, letter sequences, and digraphs differ from English.

So I do not think music and frequencies of tones are only in english facetiously said. And yes! Your idea is good for making separate application for what we discuss. I wrote to Florian Bomers of Bome's Software. Think he is almost there if he make some little adds to his MIDI Mouse Keyboard emulator. If it happens then REAPER piano keys in the piano roll will be useless for me. I then will stay with naming the notes as I do now when writing drums to name them.

Last edited by adXok; 08-19-2008 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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If you watch some of the Youtube videos (search keyword: chromatone), you will note that all keypads that are in a vertical row are in fact attached to the same key--it's not three keys. So a single note tremolo is the same as on conventional keys.

The essential nature of this is equally spaced keys, with a vertical offset between adjacent rows. The piano roll view is already equally spaced along the pitch axis. And you can already transpose it by arbitrary amounts, and have it look the same as it did before transposition.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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You're misunderstanding what I meant about Dvorak. The similarity is almost exact.

1) Way back, people had to decide how to type in English.
2) After some time, QWERTY became the standard keyboard layout (because at the time, it stopped mechanical typewriters from jamming).
3) Once there was no longer a problem with typewriters jamming, there are other ways of laying out a keyboard which might give advantages for typists working in English.
4) But because everyone already knew how to use QWERTY keyboards (and could type very fast on them already), there was no strong reason for anyone to change.

Now look at Janko.

1) Way back, people had to decide how to lay out a musical keyboard.
2) The standard piano keyboard is the easiest way to link keys to a "harp" frame with strings on it, so all keyboards used it.
3) When metalwork and manufacturing improved, and especially when electronics started, other piano layouts (Janko for one; there are others) became possible.
4) But anyone playing keyboards already knows how to use an existing keyboard layout, and they can already play them very fast, so there is no strong reason for anyone to change.

You say that the Janko layout is easier. In fact it's going to be harder in a lot of cases - in particular, it becomes *much* harder for beginners, who on a normal piano can start playing in C without using black notes. Sure, changing keys becomes easier, but how often does a classical musician say "Oh, let's play Moonlight Sonata in D minor instead of C# minor"? And fingering on a Janko keyboard is only the same if you move by one whole tone; if you move a semitone, up becomes down and down becomes up, which would be confusing! (Or you could make the software transpose, but then you can do that on a normal keyboard too.) Like many things, the new alternative has as many disadvantages as advantages.

As regards using a PC keyboard for playing notes, this is old, old, old. When I was a lot younger, playing with my Commodore C-16, there were program listings to let you do this. People still aren't using it.

The important part of your last post is "Every new idea
DISPLACING THE OLD CLAIMS..." (capitals added by me). I haven't seen the piano keyboard's design slowing down any of the pianists I go to see, or even any of the synth players. In other words, Janko's design didn't displace the piano keyboard when he was alive, and it's unlikely to do it now. As you say, "The reason is the same and is about to what the customer and mind is used to!"

It doesn't mean that someone who likes Janko's ideas can't go and do this themselves. In Open Source software, we have utilities to convert our time and date into the Mayan calendar, for example! So if someone wants to do it themselves, it may well happen. But usually this is because someone thinks it's worth doing and writes the code themselves. It's rare that one person asks for a new program and someone else writes it for them.

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Old 08-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #8
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In early keyboards, not all like intervals were in fact equal: the third between C and E would be different than the third between E and G# - each key had a unique identity - the C major chord sounded different than the F# major chord.

The current scheme with all half steps equal ( the ration being the twelvth root of 2 ) dates only from the 20th century - So the notion of symmetry on the keyboard is quite recent.

Unfortunately in the equal tempered keyboard all the triads sound somewhat sour - the major thirds are too wide! - whereas for example a guitar tuned by overtones playing a chord with many open strings can be sweeter.

The arcane weirdness and asymetry of the keyboard are useful imo - think twice before setting them aside...
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:46 PM   #9
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the all new rob said:
If you watch some of the Youtube videos (search keyword: chromatone), you will note that all keypads that are in a vertical row are in fact attached to the same key--it's not three keys. So a single note tremolo is the same as on conventional keys.
Yes, I know that and that is why I think it is bad designed. Also the keys are with round forms and offsets which leads to big gaps between the keys - terrible IMO.
I'm talking here for completely new MIDI keyboard. Seems n-roll over PC keyboards at first time could do the job though they are not cheap as common PC keyboards. But anyway, that is a matter of manifacture industry and is possible.
Also none says that we should have the exact Janko's cencept of 3 pairs of 6-6 rows. We could make it like the common piano at first. 2 rows of keys in order 6 by 6. Realy samall problem I think. If I had the money I could start produce such MIDI keyboards at once. But only if they will be cheaper than a regular n-roll-over PC keyboard so to start somehow.

semiquaver,
what you say is absolutely right. I still have problems with major thirds when I equaly temperament tune my guitar.
Of course in early centuries there were many keys, especially the organ - the top instrument. That is why it has so many keys and separate kyboards.

Yes we indeed accept the equal temperament calculating the 12-th root of two which means logarythmical proporcional separation between musical intervals. They do not mach exactly what we expect from calculating just intonation form a single and picked tone, also beacuse from the next tone its just intonation gives us other frequencies of tones. But music theory doesn't help much here.
It is just about normal software support of that conception discussed above.

I see it like that. Now we have pictures of regular keyboards in sequencers or appropriate softwares. Just this picture to be same two rows of keys but with equal form and the MIDI map to be 6 by 6 of whole-tones in that order spoken above. Nothing more.

Well score and staff should be next but not so urgent

grab said:
"And fingering on a Janko keyboard is only the same if you move by one whole tone; if you move a semitone, up becomes down and down becomes up, which would be confusing!"

Confusing... no, it is mirroring it is assymetrical like a sine function changes alternatly representing the sound wave in particular. The common piano is confusing when you have to play something different from Cmaj or F# pentatonic (C maj is white keys and F# pentatonic is black keys only). All other forms are different in scales, chords, etc.

With Janko we have Yin-Yang twins of chord's inversion, scales, etc. when transposing it by semitone interval. By a whole tone interval the forms are the same as the picked one and wherever the same.
This could be easier only if we could span all 12 keys placed in one row which is impossible because of the minimal key's width to press it with your bigest finger (the thumb).

And Dvorak is for English layuots. They even do not approximate with cyryllic, even greek, what about georgian, chinese or maybe suahili. But the musical tones are like mathematics - universal language!

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:26 AM   #10
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Default I want my bilinear chromatic keyboard !

Hi all,

I am finding this discussion as I am trying to buy a bilinear chromatic MIDI keyboard.

Just like adXok, I began to figure out that the conventional piano layout is not logical within the equal temperament paradigm which is so widespread today. As already mentioned, you have to learn 24 sets of chords and fingerings when you could only have to learn 4 sets with the bilinear chromatic keyboard. This can be reduced further with the Janko or Wicky layouts but personally I want piano keys and a piano feel, not buttons. I don't like redundancy either. So the layout I want is definitely bilinear chromatic.

The transposition issue loses of course its importance with electronic keyboards, but one thing remains, which I personally find crucial: with the bilinear chromatic keyboard, equal musical intervals always match equal transversal distances on the keyboard. Here are the details:

Transversal distance for same intervals in traditional and bilinear chromatic layouts. (L = half white key width).
interval / traditional / bilinear chromatic
seconde mineure (1/2 ton) / L ou 2L / L
seconde majeure (1 ton) /2L ou 3L / 2L
tierce mineure (1 1/2 ton) /3L ou 4L / 3L
tierce majeure (2 tons) /4L ou 5L /4L
quarte (2 1/2 tons) /5L ou 6L /5L
quinte diminuée (3 tons) /6L ou 7L ou 8L /6L
quinte (3 1/2 tons) /8L ou 9L /7L
quinte augmentée (4 tons) /9L ou 10L /8L
sixte (4 1/2 tons) /10L ou 11L /9L
septième (5 tons) /11L ou 12L /10L
septième majeure (5 1/2 tons) /12L ou 13L /11L
octave (6 tons) /14L /12L
(Sorry, editor does not like tables and eats up any horizontal space.)

I think a beginner will quickly be able to play with a focus on what is really meaningful, i.e. the interval value. By the same token he will very soon spare the necessity for looking at the keyboard. This consistency in the production of the intervals is IMHO the key factor in favor of the bilinear chromatic keyboard. It also gives the beginner a more sane and rational approach to musical theory.

If someone has hints on how to get such a keyboard, please tell.

I think that all people interested in such keyboard layouts should write to the major manufacturers (Yamaha, Roland, Casio, etc.) to show them that there is a potential customer base for moderately priced such items.

Cheers,

AO
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:45 AM   #11
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meh.

today's equal tempered scheme sucks anyhow.

load up a proper old tuning like Werkmeister III and all the keys sound different - this gives terrific expressive power and flexibility. Also continuity with the past - equal temper,ment is only a century old after all, before that all the intervals were not the same...
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
meh.

today's equal tempered scheme sucks anyhow.

load up a proper old tuning like Werkmeister III and all the keys sound different - this gives terrific expressive power and flexibility. Also continuity with the past - equal temper,ment is only a century old after all, before that all the intervals were not the same...
I have a friend who is both conductor and composer of microtonal music. He explained me those things, so I have no doubt you are right in some way.
But the ear is usually forgiving and manages to compensate for inexact tuning. Unperfect tuning is not always that bad anyway, to the point that many synths allow you to randomly detune them. Ravel was extremely fond of slightly detuned instruments.

Anyway tuning a bilinear chromatic keyboard to a non equal temperament would not bring any more problem than with a traditional layout.

Cheers,

AO

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Old 04-01-2009, 03:43 PM   #13
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How curious!

+1
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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Very interesting. I shall kill you now.

Does anybody have a link for a good page about the math and stuff behind old-fashioned tuning vs. equal temperament?

I have an "artistic" buddy who condemns my even thinking of music in terms of math, but for me the very thought of how much math we process just by perceiving harmony is something like religious awe. And the fact that animals do it as well is also remarkable. When you really listen to a songbird ... ah well. I'm getting off on a tangent. Give me links or I shall kill you again!
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frog_jr View Post
Does anybody have a link for a good page about the math and stuff behind old-fashioned tuning vs. equal temperament?
http://patrice.bailhache.free.fr/thmusique/index.html

The math is not difficult, and all is very well explained.

AO

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Old 04-06-2009, 05:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alxobr View Post
http://patrice.bailhache.free.fr/thmusique/index.html

The math is not difficult, and all is very well explained.

AO
Merci. Peut-etre la langue c'est mui problematique pour moi. La Francais, C'est n'est pas ma bon chapeau. ;-)
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