jammer overview

This section is all about a faster, innovative music keyboard called a jammer.

In a nutshell, we are combining current music theory, modern knowledge and simple ergonomics to produce "piano 2.0"; an improved musical keyboard, built on the $430 AXiS-49keyboard from C-Thru   

I've built four jammers and have found they have very significant advantages over the traditional design and few disadvantages. They are faster to learn, very significantly faster and easier to play and more expressive. They are also easier to play by ear, in other words, to jam, hence the name.

In practical terms, it takes 10 years to become skilled enough to be passable pianist. With the jammer design, the same level should be reachable in 3 yrs. It's not a free lunch, but it is less expensive, yet more filling.

Indeed, the meshing of the keyboard layout with music theory, kinesiology and human perception is a great leap forward: it's fun to have an instrument where the melody and the chords intertwine, where it's blink'n easy to add chords to a melody and music just plain makes sense.

Here's the basic principles
jammer basics
 
Jammer Basics 2
Reading a score
Ken's Jammer design points:
Other information:

More

One of the best alternate keyboard designs, the jammer uses notes in an two-dimensional array with the jammer key layout, formally known as the Wicki-Hayden (W/H for short). 

The W/H layout avoids these problems:

  • Commonly played notes are grouped much closer together than on the piano
  • The uniform isomorphic layout makes fingering patterns consistent, so only one fingering must be learned, instead of twelve for each hand as on the piano.
  • The normally troublesome black keys move out of the way and are split into two groups: a "sharp" and a "flat" section, making much esoteric music theory obvious
  • Instead of mistakes sounding bad, they sound consonant, allowing for easy playing or jamming

To summarize, the jammer's key layout moves the keys to where they are more reachable, useful and less prone to mistakes.

Advantages
  • light and easy to carry
  • Relatively easy to relate to a standard score (as easy as a piano, anyway)
  • Uniform layout makes fingering patterns consistent, so only one fingering must be learned, instead of twelve for each hand as on the piano
  • Black keys move out of the way and are split into two groups: a white "sharp" and a black "flat" section
  • Consonant keys are close together, allowing for easy jamming and jazzing up a piece
Disadvantages
  • Harder to learn than the piano in C major - but easier in any other key
  • The distance between chromatic (semi-tone) intervals is greater
  • Chromatic scales are almost has hard to play as on the piano
  • Like any brand new thing, this instrument needs a support system: teachers and a body of supporting experience
other
The jammer is a flexible instrument and can be set up in many ways:
The jammer Ideal setup
Single keyboard setup
Practice setup
Wearing the jammer across the chest 
Hand-held with Wii-Stick 
Double keyboard
Full multiplex piano replacement
Thumb-controls

Future
  • This website is working to let people know about the advantages and is addressing the support needs
  • We are also trying to extend the instrument in novel ways.
  • For example, as shown to the right, a jammer can be played from both ends, working towards the middle.
    This gives a very light, portable method of playing the instrument
Also see these Wikipedia articles: