The Jankó keyboard in action

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Really cool.

I read about this in Keyboard Magazine (then Contemporary Keyboard) too many years ago. Here’s Paul Vandervoot when he was a bit younger (but then so was I), with the device he invented that converts a regular keyboard.

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Neat example of how standards get arbitrarily frozen in place. All the hoity-toity accordionists play a keyboard much like this (with multiple/redundant keys, I mean) and it’s holding its own vs. the piano-style keyboard.


He should write a book about this and type it on a Dvorak keyboard.


I’m learning mandolin, ukulele, and guitar essentially at the same time (coming from Appalachian dulcimer). The layout change isn’t my biggest obstacle, it’s making time to practice techniques and learning to understand musical structure. Most of the techniques transfer between similar instruments, some do not. Fingerstyle on mandolin isn’t worth the effort, but maybe would transfer well to tenor banjo or octave mandolin.

Nice thing about standards is there’s so many to choose from… Isomorphic keyboards are very clever. You can find chromatic button accordions using similar systems but there at least a half dozen variations. Some more conducive to playing chords, some wider intervals, etc. I can’t imagine many people invested in one system willing to re-train in another, not to mention invest in an actual instrument, which of course can get pricey very fast. I’d been wanting to get my hands on one for years, but just finding one in your preferred layout can be a real task. To get a taste of what is possible, there’s a web app that offers a few different layouts on a virtual keyboard with hexagonal keys.

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was unaware pianos had their own Qwerty vs Devorak moment. I knew that there where so many keyboard instruments that if I were to call them a piano in front of an owner or fan I’d get slapped for making the mistake but most of those still got the normal layout we are used to. (pipe organs maybe not I forget)

Not enough keys.


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