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Uniform keyboard layout?

Mon, 15 Oct 2007

What if a black key was above (and below) every white key?

What if, instead of a standard keyboard

we had this?

Shown with the C major scale in red.

There's got to be a reason why this appears to have never been done before. Is it terribly hard to play? Is there a reason the keys are arranged as they are apart from choosing one key to be all white notes (C major)? Is it just that convention and tradition override function? The only other keyboard layout I can find is the Janko keyboard; a massive change.

Listing the pros and cons I can think of, maying it makes sense why this hasn't been done:

-   There are only two major scales to learn instead of 12 - half starting on a black note and half on a white note. If you want to transpose something, simply play it a little higher or lower on the keyboard. This seems like it could make learning a keyed instrument a lot easier, and is the main benefit of the new layout.
-   The full keyboard isn't as long, for the same amount of notes.
-   Now you can reach a note or two further, and it's easier to play octaved notes.

-   Every scale is one of two types, but every scale kind of sucks to play. With the existing layout, every scale is different but most are easier to play on their own than this. You'd have to play the first four fingers and then cross your thumb over onto the second black note, or something similar.
- For fingering, you'll actually still have to learn four scales, since the left hand fingers are reversed.
-   Each C would have to be marked so the ocatves can be differentiated (I chose to use a dot, which would be raised for playing blind).
-   The standard notation of sharps and flats doesn't work anymore. F is a black note for instance. However, that's not a practical drawback, just a notational one. Music notation would essentially have to change because of this:

Sharps and flats make little sense in the new system, but the current system is pretty strange anyway - E# is just F, another white note, double sharps...
In the uniform system sharps and flats can be re-structured logically to always appear on black notes. B is no longer necessary as a designation.