Jammer basic design

What if there was a musical instrument that was easier to learn, faster to play and best of all, provided a special insight into how music comes into being?

Herein I present the “jammer”, an innovative musical keyboard design, and why it’s so cool.

First, let’s design a music keyboard from scratch, as if you’d never seen one before.
There are 12 notes in an octave,
     spaced apart by a semitone
     Two semitones steps make a wholetone.

Step 1: Lay out the keys in one row all equally spaced by semi-tones, like this, and you have the layout of a harp's strings.

 
 
 
Next: It makes sense to stagger notes so they alternate,

And slam them closer together: 

Notes of the major scale
But unlike in a harp, we don't have to be linear, and we don't have to base our design on a early harp-like instrument that only had the C-major scale's notes. 

 

So far so simple. If you play all in sequence all 12 notes you get a chromatic scale, presumably so named because it has every color of note on the scale. Most musical scales are whole tone based, with the type defined, largely, by the notes they skip, and when they sneak in a semitone jump. With this layout, a major scale goes as shown right:

If you add a third row on top, then you can play any scale, in any key using the same pattern.

You have much less to learn – 1/12th (!) as many patterns as on a standard piano keyboard.

This is the Janko pattern and is over a century old.

It's also a trifle bulky, as you can see if you click the above link.

The technical term, used (I suspect) to either scare off non-geeks or to sound intellectual is isomorphism. I prefer the term consistent-interval, or simply consistent. (Personally I bet we'll one day hear the term in a science fiction show: "he's gone isomorphic, Jim")

Compare to learning the piano as show here:

It was first designed without black notes,
and its totally designed around the C-major scale. 

Other scales are fiendishly hard to play.


 

It's rumored that the Janko pattern was scuttled, despite being favored by noted pianists, by piano teachers. Bad people!

So, there you have part one - make a keyboard consistent,
and it's (a lot!) easier to learn.
Comments