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Diy Janko Bandoneon


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#1 jjj

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 03:05 PM

Since I'm excited about the advantage of button keyboards, I evolved a "Janko musical keyboard layout", adaptable to any Synth keyboard. (Download the Pdf here: http://www.live-styl...a:Janko_Project ) Since I gained more dexterity in playing the accordion I want to electronically connect an old 120-button accordion bass part to my Synth. This way I will be able to enjoy real (Big Fish) bandoneon and VST sounds. The whole project has been on hold, because I'm moving house and packed up the lot...
I'll connect an old 120-button accordion bass box (without bellow) in parallel with/to my Roland (D20) Synth keys and build my own breath controller to introduce volume and tremolo variations. To learn to play the new Janko keyboard I use Klavarskribo notation. I know the manual accordion accompaniment sounds rather basic, but combined with with Yamaha styles automatic (Live-Styler.de), it sounds as good as it can get.

It always has been my dream to play the keyboard and chords "like a singer". To play any tune in any key without bothering about scales and chords. Do you know, how invaluable that is?? Having enjoyed a wonderful childhood full of love & affection thanks to my dearest aunt "Tante Mieze", I now pride myself of being an "emotional millionaire"! In the past the complexity of traditional keyboard and notation always spoiled my musical creativity. At last I'll be playing my music the way I feel, without being hampered by music theory, technicalities and complexity.

The advantage of "Janko" is that it's ideally suited for hobby musicians, for it only requires to practice one scale pattern of each, the major and minor in order to be able to play all 24 major & minor scales. Forget about practicing scales forever... !!!
In other words, it's worth relearning with the help of Klavarscribo notation.
Here’s how Klavarskribo for Janko should look:
http://img82.imagesh...1663/111qk4.jpg

#2 m3838

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 03:50 PM

I'm not a musician per se, I'm a perpetual student. And I like jumping from instrument to instrument. I realize though, that this practice will not lead me to expressing myself the way I'd like to. With this in mind:
The notion that Stradella bass in Accordion sound "basic" is plain wrong. You can play bass line in Stradella chromatically, you can combine chords with bass buttons and with trebble notes to create more than a "home musician" will ever need. I will abstain from giving youtube links to superb accordion performances, I've been abusing this site for long enough.
The only real reason to make reedless and (?) bellowless accordion is to allow frail senior players to continue playing music. As such - it could be wonderful invention, if not all the gizmos that come with it.
I don't understand what you mean by "Bandoneon". The octave tuned two reed sound or the free keyboard for each hand?
The idea of not learning to be able to play is very attractive. Unfortunately you can't eat without chewing.
I figured some time saving tips for myself (EC)
In order not to practice multiple scales every day for hours I have decided to practice only the scale for given piece, and not much at that too. I also decided not to play etudes, but make excercises out of music I learn. It saves time, doesn't clog my brain and seems to work well enough.
I don't see any virtues in mechanical uniform keyboard hooked to electronic device. If you have good dexterity playing piano accordion, why not use your common keyboard, but with transpose function. Instead of learning yet another instrument for transposition only, learn to use the switch button instead. So all of your goals will be acheaved 10 times sooner. Have a piano keyboard shifting left/right or up/down, each shift switches the key. Or have one key switching it along circle of 5th up and one - down. So you can switch the key while you play.
Another consideration is muscle memory. When you learn a piece, you remember where the notes are without looking. Switching home position to accomodate other singers or instruments will work marginally, as you'll keep on hitting wrong buttons. You'll have to 'learn' to play the same tune in different positions. It's easier than to re-learn the whole thing, but still doesn't give you sought fluidity in switching keys.
Looks to me you've chosen the less efficient way and overlooked the most obvious path.
What do you say?

#3 jjj

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 09:01 PM

I'm not a musician per se, I'm a perpetual student. And I like jumping from instrument to instrument. I realize though, that this practice will not lead me to expressing myself the way I'd like to. With this in mind:
The notion that Stradella bass in Accordion sound "basic" is plain wrong. You can play bass line in Stradella chromatically, you can combine chords with bass buttons and with trebble notes to create more than a "home musician" will ever need. I will abstain from giving youtube links to superb accordion performances, I've been abusing this site for long enough.
The only real reason to make reedless and (?) bellowless accordion is to allow frail senior players to continue playing music. As such - it could be wonderful invention, if not all the gizmos that come with it.
I don't understand what you mean by "Bandoneon". The octave tuned two reed sound or the free keyboard for each hand?
The idea of not learning to be able to play is very attractive. Unfortunately you can't eat without chewing.
I figured some time saving tips for myself (EC)
In order not to practice multiple scales every day for hours I have decided to practice only the scale for given piece, and not much at that too. I also decided not to play etudes, but make excercises out of music I learn. It saves time, doesn't clog my brain and seems to work well enough.
I don't see any virtues in mechanical uniform keyboard hooked to electronic device. If you have good dexterity playing piano accordion, why not use your common keyboard, but with transpose function. Instead of learning yet another instrument for transposition only, learn to use the switch button instead. So all of your goals will be acheaved 10 times sooner. Have a piano keyboard shifting left/right or up/down, each shift switches the key. Or have one key switching it along circle of 5th up and one - down. So you can switch the key while you play.
Another consideration is muscle memory. When you learn a piece, you remember where the notes are without looking. Switching home position to accomodate other singers or instruments will work marginally, as you'll keep on hitting wrong buttons. You'll have to 'learn' to play the same tune in different positions. It's easier than to re-learn the whole thing, but still doesn't give you sought fluidity in switching keys.
Looks to me you've chosen the less efficient way and overlooked the most obvious path. What do you say?

You can play bass line in Stradella chromatically, you can combine chords with bass buttons and with trebble notes to create more than a "home musician" will ever need.


You can play bass line in Stradella chromatically, you can combine chords with bass buttons and with treble notes to create more than a "home musician" will ever need.

The manual accordion accompaniment sounds rather basic/ primitive, that's why we rarely see accordionists playing their bass accompaniment in a band environment. Yet, combined with with Yamaha styles automatic (Live-Styler.de), it sounds as good one-man-band as it can get.

The only real reason to make reedless and (?) bellowless accordion is to allow frail senior players to continue playing music. As such - it could be wonderful invention, if not all the gizmos that come with it.

So, you reckon piano and organs are therefore nostly played frail senior players to continue playing music? :( I rather view it as "taking advantage of PC technology", for it allows anyone to play countless great musical instruments the easiest and fastest way via VST and soundfonts without being hampered by chord and scale complexity...

why not use your common keyboard, but with transpose function.

Easier written then done, because many pieces have scales changes in the same melody and this will be quite confusing and distracting when playing by ear.

You'll have to 'learn' to play the same tune in different positions. It's easier than to re-learn the whole thing

You mean I have to learn to play the same tune in 12 scales? Well, that's what I try so desperately to avoid with Janko.

I don't understand what you mean by "Bandoneon"

With that I mean creating a "virtual bandoneon" by using (MIDI) bandoneon recorded sounds, such as Big Fish "Play The Tango" soundfont.

#4 m3838

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 11:22 PM

Interesting.
I think you are attracted to MIDI gizmos more than you are attracted to music. There is no character in MIDI except from borrowing from real acoustic instruments. Besides real sound was found to have therapeutic qualities. If you like bandoneon, I'd recommend learning a bandoneon. If it's system is perceived difficult (and it is by me), then there is a good news: 3 row chromatic accordion system from Harry Geuns
With this you will have to learn only three basic positions for all of the scales, if you inclined.
I think that English Concertina layout is the easiest in the world. Reading is a breeze, playing by ear is a breeze, in any key. So I can read pretty complex notation, including harmony, which I wasn't able to do with by B system Chromatic. Any common keys are no problem whatsoever: C, G, D, F, Bb. Enough is enough.
But now my real problem is to play it, so it makes sense! Expression, rhythm, composition! All is more than I can chew at any given practice session. :( A great source of frustration!
And you're talking about some MIDI Hocus-Pocus.
As for Accordion accompaniment been basic and boring, you are probably talking about this
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=sjLDkEyych4
But how about this?
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Ukmgv7VGXWQ
But in general you are right, Stradella bass is used mostly fro rhythm and key signature, except, of course, playing of Clifton Chenier (sp?) and Luiz Gonzaga. And you are aware of free bass accordion, right?
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#5 ocd

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 12:03 AM

Oh, the search for the perfect instrument. I have been there. I go back often. For me, the perfect instrument would have the following features:

  • Range: four octaves: two below middle c; two above
  • At least one octave overlap between the hands
  • Easy to sight read on
  • Possible to play two-voice music (i.e., Bach inventions)
  • Small enough that it can be carried on a plane
  • Quiet enough that it can be played in a hotel room at night without bothering the neighbors

The closest approximation I have found is pictured in my avatar: a Maccann duet with 72 keys. Its range it is not four octaves (goes "only" down to F). (If I find an 81 key Maccann, I might have to go for it.) It is not as easy to sight read as I would like. Can be taken as carry on. Can be played quietly.

I also have a small free-bass chromatic accordion that complies with requirements 1 through 4, but it is too large to be carry on.

I have been known to spend a lot of time searching instead of playing what I do have.

ocd

#6 jjj

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 09:30 AM

There is no character in MIDI except from borrowing from real acoustic instruments.

True, but with real instrument soundfonts and volume/ tremolo variation breath control it's getting dangerously realistic and let's not forget that MIDI is going to have the last laugh, because it's improving all the time, whereas acoustic instruments stay put...

But how about this?
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Ukmgv7VGXWQ
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Yes, the right hand sounds sound really skilled, but the left hand just throws a bass or chords whenever it fits... :)
Yet, nothing, compared to piano or band accompaniment. Then I prefer the idea of combining manual with Live-Styler (Yamaha-Style accompaniment.
====================

Oh, the search for the perfect instrument.


My aspiration is to create the easiest and fastest to learn instrument for musical creativity without being hampered by musical theory and scale & chord complexity. PC technology offers new opportunities. It's also far easier/ cheaper to repair a "PC reed" :)
The main idea is that I aim to focus purely on emotional creativity ...just like a singer doesn't care about scales and chords. Why should only professional musicians be able to enjoy it? So, far my Janko based project seems to progress favorably. Here, I merely seek/ welcome constructive critics in order to discover and mend the flaws.

#7 m3838

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 02:30 PM

All is good except the statement that MIDI will have the last laugh. If so, it will be it's death laugh, when creation will defeat creator. Luckily it's impossible, and your whistling will far outlast your Janko playing.

#8 Richard Morse

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 02:46 PM

My aspiration is to create the easiest and fastest to learn instrument for musical creativity without being hampered by musical theory and scale & chord complexity.... Here, I merely seek/ welcome constructive critics in order to discover and mend the flaws.

Have you tried the Wicki/Hayden layout? Seems to me that it has more advantages than the Janko.

-- Rich --

#9 m3838

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:18 PM

My aspiration is to create the easiest and fastest to learn instrument for musical creativity without being hampered by musical theory and scale & chord complexity.... Here, I merely seek/ welcome constructive critics in order to discover and mend the flaws.

Have you tried the Wicki/Hayden layout? Seems to me that it has more advantages than the Janko.

-- Rich --

Actually no, because it's diatonicly inclined, and it's range is limited compared to linear Uniform, that can encompass maximum hearing range.

#10 jjj

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 04:42 PM

[/quote]Have you tried the Wicki/Hayden layout? Seems to me that it has more advantages than the Janko.

-- Rich --
[/quote]
Interesting, please tell me more... from your perspective.

#11 jjj

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 04:56 PM

All is good except the statement that MIDI will have the last laugh. If so, it will be it's death laugh, when creation will defeat creator. Luckily it's impossible, and your whistling will far outlast your Janko playing.

Well, it's true that emotional values are the soul of musical creativity and in that context PC musical instruments are still far behind. Yet, look at late organist's (Klaus Wunderlich) works of emotional creativity, using electronic organs and PC. Often his performance matches or outdoes conventional musical works, because he was just a brilliant musician. My idea, to create a virtual bandoneon with a Janko keyboard layout is far from perfect. I still have to build volume/ tremolo breath controller and learn to apply it. I also have an old Farfisa accordion keyboard laying around, which might be more suited for Janko conversion and fast playing style. So, still lots of work to do...
I could even just attach 4 octaves of push buttons in Janko format onto a longish piece of wood and electronically wire it up via Petkov's MIDI interface: http://www.geocities.com/JDPetkov/ That's rather a cheap way of experimenting with MIDI instrumentations.

Edited by jjj, 08 February 2008 - 05:04 PM.


#12 m3838

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:12 PM

All is good except the statement that MIDI will have the last laugh. If so, it will be it's death laugh, when creation will defeat creator. Luckily it's impossible, and your whistling will far outlast your Janko playing.

Well, it's true that emotional values are the soul of musical creativity and in that context PC musical instruments are still far behind. Yet, look at late organist's (Klaus Wunderlich) works of emotional creativity, using electronic organs and PC. Often his performance matches or outdoes conventional musical works, because he was just a brilliant musician. My idea, to create a virtual bandoneon with a Janko keyboard layout is far from perfect. I still have to build volume/ tremolo breath controller and learn to apply it. I also have an old Farfisa accordion keyboard laying around, which might be more suited for Janko conversion and fast playing style. So, still lots of work to do...
I could even just attach 4 octaves of push buttons in Janko format onto a longish piece of wood and electronically wire it up via Petkov's MIDI interface: http://www.geocities.com/JDPetkov/ That's rather a cheap way of experimenting with MIDI instrumentations.


Here's your MIDI reedless, bellows driven accordion.
Played really well, probably one of best examples of MIDI accordion useage.
Leaves me dumbstruck. Why not just play that freaking saxophone?
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#13 Richard Morse

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 08:41 AM

Have you tried the Wicki/Hayden layout? Seems to me that it has more advantages than the Janko.

Actually no, because it's diatonicly inclined

Perhaps we should qualify "more advantages"? For people who play more diatonically-inclined music, a Hayden would probably be more suitable than a system that is chromatically-inclined (or hemitonically or anhemitonically inclined...).

and it's range is limited compared to linear Uniform, that can encompass maximum hearing range.

No, the Wicki/Hayden system is *not* more limited in range than the Uniform system. What do you support your contention with?

-- Rich --

#14 jjj

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:46 AM

Here's your MIDI reedless, bellows driven accordion.
Played really well, probably one of best examples of MIDI accordion useage.
Leaves me dumbstruck. Why not just play that freaking saxophone?
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Firstly, it's not Sax, but a clarinet he's trying to interpret (can't you hear that :o) , secondly he obviously achieves far more then a clarinet player, because he actually accompanies himself... Don't think "stay put"...think lateral and progressive, is my motto! :)

Edited by jjj, 10 February 2008 - 09:47 AM.


#15 Michael Marino

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 02:13 PM

Having read all the articles before this post, might I point out some problems with midi.

1) Power, all MIDI instruments require external sources of electrical power and often are picky about the type they will use.

2) Cost, to get the quality of MIDI based instrument that will truly match what the physical instrument can do is as or more expensive than the orthodox instrument.

3) Purity/Impurity, it is the impurity of a "natural" instrument that gives the ability to hear the secondary untones and harmonics that make so many instruments unique.

4) Data Storage, With a physical instrument you store the information to play it in you brain and spinal cord and there it remains, it can become adapted with very little skill to other instruments and only requires access to an instrument to be given a venue to express. MIDI and other types of Audio files (MP3 being one of the worse and most used) require massive storage space to truly match analog or "natural" wave length patterns that we hear from an orthodox instrument.

As to the argument of Diatonic or Chromantic, Hemitonic, etc. Please remember that A4=440Hz is still not an excepted standard world wide as the orient tends to use A4=444Hz and than there is Philharmonic which still uses wonderful A4=452. There is a wonderful church organ here in the UK that was tuned originally to A4=390Hz. So Technology does not always equal better.

It does not also mean worse but should be taken in measure. The Emotive measure of any music is subject in the extreme and deals with so many social psychological dependents to render it little more than academic babble used to support the current fashion of an ideology and is quicksand at best to stand upon it.

Do what you wish to do and to others who enjoy theory and diverse types of music please let us know and how it works out but go into it with care and the expectation that it can all go horribly right and wrong . That way what you get out might even surprise or disgust yourself. We often go into these things wanting other to tell us how great they are and to some they may be to others they mostly are not. So do it enjoy and let us know where we can listen to a high quality sound clip (yout tube is not the greatest for that unfortunately) and good luck

Michael

#16 jjj

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:36 PM

Please consider this:

1) MIDI can run on a collapsible keyboard and Solar batteries... and laptop.
2) Example: The costs of a MIDI keyboard, which can play bandoneon music, can be as little as a couple hundred dollars (DIY is even cheaper!), whereas a bandoneon still costs 1000's of dollars plus costly repairs to reeds and bellow plus transport costs.
3) Unique purity/impurity, it is the impurity of a "natural" instrument, which can all be programmed into sondfonts/ banks.
4) Data storage isn't a costly problem anymore and offers players instant access complex presets, whereas players would need lengthy maneuvers to create the same acoustic environment etc.
4) Exotic tuning etc. is far easier adjustable with MIDI; the least problem, but impossible with traditional instruments.

Well, let's face it... it was technology which enabled us to build a concertinas, accordions, bandoneons etc. So what makes you think that technology isn't going to deliver more of the same... and better?
It's quite challenging to create a MIDI instrument, which truly satisfies our demanding needs for musical creativity. That's my challenge. :)

#17 Richard Morse

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:58 AM

Have you tried the Wicki/Hayden layout? Seems to me that it has more advantages than the Janko.

Interesting, please tell me more... from your perspective.

The things that I like about the
Wicki/Hayden are:

With a Wicki/Hayden it's easier to play a diatonic scale as one needn't move their hands much OR need to use one's thumb (which *can* be put to use, but doesn't *have* to be put to use in typical playing). Note that the Janko fingers more easily UPscale when moving to the right and downwards, rather than simply to the right or right-upwards. After a few octaves (depending on the size/duplication of the keyboard) one must make a difficult position shift. With the right "sea" of keys the W/H doesn't have this problem.

Posted Image

With the W/H it's easier to move along diatonic notes as they are closer than with a Janko. Going to the relative minor (1-6) is a 3-key move vs a 5-key move. A 10th (1-10) is a 4-key move vs a 9-key move. loser diatonic notes means that chords are more compact on a W/H than Janko.

Consider the a typical stride bass style: on a piano one would most likely play 1,8 with the P,T and then 1,3,5 with the R,I,T. With a Janko one would probably play P,T and R,I,T moving the hand in the process with each finger finding a "new" note. With a W/H one could play P,R and R,M,I (for the 1,5,3 chord) with the hand not moving position at all (your M,I can "stay" over the chord keys the whole time). Further apart stride could even be simpler as an inverted chord (3,5,1) and played with the M,I,T (as 1,5,3) while the P,R do the basses. The chord fingers "stay" over the chord keys. But with the Janko you're now shifting your hand an additional 3 keys.

For that matter with a W/H you could easily hit 3 (or 4!) octave notes with one hand.... try that on a Janko or piano!

Posted Image

The W/H fits "western" music incredibly well in that the most common chords are adjacent. The 1,4,5 notes are next to each other in a little triad. Very "regular". With the Janko the 1,4,5 are further apart and unevenly so. Rather than one key away, they are 3 and one more one further. And each of *their* 4,5 notes are also unevenly spaced.

Posted Image

In reality the W/H and Janko are a subset of isomorphic note layout, called the "whole-tone" (aka by other words: full-step, whole-note, two-degree, two-halftone, two-step, etc.) as each note to the right is a whole tone higher. In such a system there needs to be two rows as by going up by whole tones you "miss" half the notes. This second row comprising these "missing" (whole) notes is what sets the W/H and Janko apart.

This second row is positioned "above" and "between the first such that by going up and to the right one key the tone goes up a 5th with the W/H and a half-tone with the Janko. You can see by the layouts that the two rows are identical but that they are positioned - SLID - relatively to the first row by a different amount.

There are other siblings in this isomorphic whole-tone layout... such as sliding the second row such that you go up and to the right by a 4th.... Or slid way over so that you go up to the right but the tone goes DOWN by a 4th....

Sounds strange? Consider another isomorphic subset layout known as the "minor-third" (aka: diminished, three-degree, three-halfstep, "chromatic"...). Most of us are familiar with the B and C system chromatic accordions. These are only 2 of the several possibilities in this subset.

These two siblings have notes which progress to the right by three half-tones higher. In order to get all 12 tones you'll need three rows of half-tone (diminished) notes. The B system is arranged with the adjacent row "above" slid (positioned) such that by going up to the right one key the tone goes up by a whole-tone. The C system goes up to the right one key in half-tone steps. Siblings.

Recently M3838 pointed another sibling of this subset out to us: the Axis 24. It is also 3 rows of diminished notes but slid differently from the B and C systems. Note that if you slid the Axis rows over only one note further it turns into the C system! Oh - and rotate the field 60 degrees. Siblings.

And isomorphic systems needn't be on the same keyboard. There are "English" (unisonoric, every other note on the other side of the instrument) and bisonoric isomorphic layouts too.

But I degress (but I find this stuff sooooo interesting!)...! Back to the W/H and Janko.

I was musing on note juxtapositions. What notes are important to what you play? Probably best to put them closer together and/or in a pattern that is "easy". I've already hit on the diatonic scale (and BTW, *all* modes are played with the same pattern - but for "starting" on a different key) but what about note patterns? 5ths are arguably one of the most important patterns. Then maybe 4ths, diminished and augmented patterns, etc. How easy are they to come by on these systems?

Posted Image

And there are people who consider the "accidental" (non-diatonic) notes to be incredibly important. I think they are too, but just not as important as the diatonic ones are. With W/H the accidentals are considerably more distant than the Janko. But I actually find that helpful at many times as it means the finger I use for the occasional (and sometimes not-so-occasional) accidental is NOT an adjacent finger - which has the benefit of not messing up my fingering pattern.

For instance a typical chromatic run on a W/H involves grabbing that accidental with one's pinky (when playing with the right hand) which leaves all the rest of the fingers "in position". With the Janko one would usually play the accidental with an adjacent finger as the accidental is adjacent as well. But that usually means playing the next note with another finger... and you're "out-of-pattern" which often causes a hand shift or using the same finger for adjacent notes. Not great.

And what monster chromatic runs? Well if you just want to wail up chromatically like that it takes just two fingers to zip up the notes - in either system. The only difference is that the adjacent notes zig-zag close together (Janko) or further apart (W/H).

For those interested, there are a couple easy ways to "play" both systems. You can make up and print out a blowup of one of these drawings I have here (or I could make a downloadable file already to scale to print out if people are interested) and/or you can download key remapping software which lets you reassign your computer keyboard to play notes. Map it for a Wicki/Hayden and Janko. Save the profiles and at the touch of a button you can be playing either/or. I can't seem to find the software version I had (it was a while ago that I did this) but it was free. Googling just now didn't turn it up though whoever has a bit of time can surely find such software.

Of course the computer keyboard size is pretty limiting but it will serve to get the idea across. I think that a "full-range" Wicki/Hayden layout would be something like this which spans the entire piano range but for the lowest few notes.

Posted Image

-- Rich --

#18 jjj

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 11:25 AM

Geez, that's interesting! I'll need a few days to work it out... :
I was always interested in having an overview and analysis of all available keyboard pattern.
Again it proves that in all cases the traditional piano keyboard comes last!
Now that MIDI technology allows us to realize th previously impossible it really makes a lot of sense
to settle on (or even relearn) the logically most correct keyboard layout.
With a bit of electronics skills one can for instance build a MIDI bandoneon for $100 or so !
Thx for the info.




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