Next, I need to check if the advantages of this layout are really worth relearning the keyboard, because I acquired about "two decades of piano accordion dexterity" and thus believe/ fear ...that Janko might get me there faster 7 easier.
Or Wicki/Hayden? Stick with the piano if you are satisfied. For myself, I've moved from instrument to instrument as either the instrument was limiting to what I wanted to play - or that *I* was too limited for the instrument. I've played (at) piano for 30 some-odd years and still amn't very good. Part of that was that the keys were physical "things", objects... to me. They have (in my mind anyway) little relationship to the pitches. Simple objects to be sure, but I can see that playing two next to each other (be they a black/white or white/white) produced a dischord... skipping a key produced a different type of dischord... getting 3, 4, 5+ over makes for nice harmonies - but it's so hard to SEE (and understand) the relationship of the key/objects as there are so many white/black guys between. I can't reliably pick one note and then think "I want a particular harmonizing tone" and be able to find it right off. I'm okay in Cmaj. and marginal a couple keys flat and sharp from that... but that's it.
I find piano to be more muscle memory than anything. I just can't sit down and play like I can speak (walk, run, ride a bike). It's not innate.
Then I got a Hayden. Right off it was easier to play because I didn't have to deal with an "uneven" keyboard. Every tone was the same relative pitch change from one key/object to a another. The idea of musical "keys" just wasn't there. Everything was uniformly relative. It was a simple to realizing that a particular "shape" of notes (fingers put down on two or more keys) produced a certain tonal "feeling"... an that no matter where I was on the instrument (or in what key I was playing in) that shape always produced that tonal feeling. It was also a simple shape.
Soon I was flavoring/coloring/creating pieces/counterpoint/interesting chords/etc. just by thinking of the tonal feel I want to impart. Not long after that I didn't have to think.
One of the really great things I like about the Wicki/Hayden is that it's teaching ME music theory because of the way the tones are laid out. So easy to understand. So often I'd be playing along and some really nice thing comes out... just the feeling I wanted... just happens. So I stop and try to understand. And would then realize that it was some modulation between the "normal" chords or a particular progression, or counterpoint thing... whatever. At one point I took some music theory lessons to better understand what was going on. The teacher was amazed at the Wicki/Haden system.
Maybe the Janko will be like that for you. I haven't had enough experience to judge, though by "paper" playing I think I prefer the W/H. I do have a lot more experience with the B and C chromatics as we sell them in our store. I don't think that either are as good as the Janko, and much less than the W/H. But that may also depend a lot on the type of music one plays. I wonder what it would have been like if the W/H layout were developed and available for decades?
Roughly, I see that this W/H layout is much compacter; i.e. thus faster reachable. Also it allows a hand-span of several octaves. Janko has non-of this. Yes, diatonic scales are far easier to play, but how about chromatic scales (C, c#, D, d# etc.) ? There some extraordinary finger acrobatic is called upon...
I don't think so. I'd play long chromatic runs on a W/H with my index and pinky, alternating as I head to the right (when ascending). Very easy. I think it's more difficult on a Janko as you'd probably use your index and middle fingers. It's not so much which fingers one uses, but how much motion they have to do. When they are alternating 4 keys away they are coming down and crabbing along only slightly on W/H. On Janko with the keys being next to each other one's fingers need to flex laterally considerably as well. More muscles involved. More difficult. I guess you could always use the fingers of both hands, but then you wouldn't be able to play parallel chromatic runs!
Since the W/H layout offers the same scale transposition advantage as Janko, the only other problem would be music notation. I neither like nor read traditional music notation, for I prefer Klavarscribo. As you know with Janko I wouldn't have a problem to adapt it to Klavarscribo, but with W/H I would have to "invent" a new type of Klavarscribo style notation. Any idea on that?
I'd rather use a system I didn't have to learn, and one that has the most choice of notation (scores) out there. I just Googled up Klavarscribo. Very interesting. I think I'd rather put the effort into translating regular notation (what's it called anyway - "modern"?).
When visiting with Brian Hayden he showed me how he "interprets" modern notation. (If I'm remembering correctly) he "reads" scores by the distance the notes are from each other - rather than by what pitch is associated with the position of the note on the staff. Of course having the staff lines there helps grok the distances. What key signature the piece is in is immaterial. You just start wherever on your instrument and it come out sounding fine. If you *want* it in the musical key it's written in, you need to start on the right button/key.
I've tried that method some and have had some success but didn't stick with it long enough to get facile. I rarely play from sheet music on my Hayden.
You might want to check out the ThumMusic
notation system. It was invented for isomorphic instruments (and is not key-specific!).
Actually, my Janko Kbd has only 3 rows (the upper row duplicated). This allows me to stick to only one pattern in major and one pattern in minor.
Actually there IS only one pattern on any isomorphic keyboard for all 7 modes. The pattern is the same. The reason why the modes sound different is that the starting place in the pattern is different... but the notes follow each other in the same pattern.
I still didn't analyze the C-system button accordion, which might outdo the W/H and the Janko ! ?
At least they're easier to come by!
-- Rich --