Basic understanding - Stacking the keys

The short and simple explanation of the jammer

Should you ever be possessed of the need to explain it quickly, here’s the TV-news-sound-bite way to do it:

The problem

First, In music’s all-important, major scale the important notes are the white notes on a piano. But; when laid out in a line like that, they are hard and slow to play, as:

  • the hands have to move around a lot and beginners have to look at the keyboard
  • its really inconsistent
  • the keys that sound worst when played together are right next to each other, so anyone not an expert can and will make mistakes
    Stack the keys

It’s an honest-to-goodness elitist, albeit inadvertent, conspiracy.

So so does one fix it?

First, you move the keys around a bit.

If you stack them so they are closer together, and especially put  notes that usually are played together, in various combinations, close together. 

Move blacks aside

Added bonus #1: often they can be played with one finger.

Bonus #2: this also makes the fingering consistent, so you need only learn one fingering, not twelve.

Second, as another bonus granted by the fickle laws of mathematics, the
troublesome black keys move out of the way:

Bonus #4:

We can put an on extra set of keys on the other side to make them easy to reach. Thus automatically springs into existence a "Sharp" and a "flat" section, because this thing is built around music theory.

Voila! All three problems are solved. Plus you get quintuple bonus points because it matches the way we hear music, as I've described in  "Building a better keyboard".

That's the simple, powerful idea - just move the keys to where they are more reachable, useful and one makes far less mistakes.

And that's why I'm so keen on the jammer: it's simple enough for even yours truly to understand.

For more:

Explained in Easier to Learn? and Building a better keyboard are the detailed (many would say pedantic) rationale behind the design of the Jammer’s seemingly weird key layout.