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'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instruments

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mnailor

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 2:27 pm

Confident predictions are easy, but until you can demonstrate new keyboard music that is both an attractive musical advancement and completely impossible to play using traditional keyboards, which are then shown to be holding back important progress in musical composition and performance, you're just giving an opnion.

And the hardest part of getting a new standard adopted is proving that it fully supports everything the existing standard does, without losing any nuances or making traditional works more difficult to perform artistically and in their period's style.
Last edited by mnailor on Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrankFrontera

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 2:33 pm

mnailor wrote:Some things to consider when designing a proposed replacement for the traditional keyboard.

A brief intro to the organ might give the impression that keyboard players press buttons at the right time, and hold them until it's time to release the note. Even for the organ -- one of the least touch-sensitive keyboard instruments -- this is hardly even close to the artistry involved in musical keyboard touch.

Yes, for an electronic organ or electric action pipe organ, buttons are plausible enough for a beginner before you try to learn artistic phrasing, agogic accents, all the many types of connections between notes/chords and the space of time between them, and the effect of fingering sequence on the articulation for certain traditions. Those are all facilitated by the traditional keyboard layout, maybe mostly because that's what the composers wrote for.


You're right. I am not suggesting that the midi instrument now as I play would be able to replace the organ manuals. There would have to be developments on it in future models.

mnailor wrote:But most important a keyboardist plays *levers*, not buttons. The levers are connected to a mechanism that matters, for a tracker organ or clavichord, but much more so for a grand piano. The latter's mechanics are very little changed since the 19th century and most of the piano literature depends on it working the way it does to enable the nuances of the music.

Substituting buttons here is a little like saying a violinist should strum the strings, since that's enough to play chords if their left hand is nimble enough. All that bowing is just pointlessly hard!


Yes certainly. I am not suggesting the mechanics of how the instruments produce sound should be replaced - only modified to accommodate the keygrid layout - for the company / developer that decides to do so. And for the market that wants it.

mnailor wrote:The traditional layout of keys, which did evolve a bit since early organs moved away from big levers sticking out of a cabinet that you pounded with your fists, has been stable for centuries other than minor wrinkles like short octaves and split #/b keys. It has important properties that a matrix of buttons doesn't provide, even if the buttons are touch-sensitive.

That's aside from the benefits of having a common layout for students to learn the organ, piano, harpsichord, clavichord, and harmonium. Forgot the accordion.


This is certain. I am not suggesting an acoustic keygrid instrument simply be 'buttons'. But you do bring up an important point - properties that a matrix of buttons doesn't provide. This may indeed be a compromise - but to the degree it is important, we'll find out. Note that the size of the keygrid matrix can be modified, the keys on the keygrid can be made slightly bigger, etc. in the acoustic models I am proposing for thought.

mnailor wrote:The piano is the example that totally breaks alternative keyboard layouts. A student of the piano, attempting to reach the point where they can play even the simplest Chopin work, has to know how to use dozens of touches (all depending on that key lever, hammer throw physics, and escapement lever for repeated notes), how to use just the right arm weight to hep control tone from massive to leggiero, how to lead the hand with the elbow for lateral jumps or to help get the right degree of legato, when to rotate the forearm to pull slightly on one side of the hand to help get different note dynamics in the same chord, how to use movements of the wrist to assist in everything from playing octaves to repeated chords to pianissimo. It's just not all done by fingers.

I could drone on some more, but the point is, the keyboard layout and key lever mechanism are essential to most of two centuries of piano music, and no, there's not enough music written in just the 21st century to compensate for giving all that up.


You are right - to what degree this is possible on the keygrid is yet to be proven. I have the conviction that these elements of playing are possible on the keygrid layout, and it will take quite some time to get there to explore it.

mnailor wrote:Back to the organ, being able to reach 2 or 3 manuals (keyboards) close enough together to play notes using the thumb of the same hand playing on the next manual up is necessary for some music, so keyboards have to be designed to be close together but still not interfere with each other. Some organs need 4 - 5 manuals (okay, 7), so space and reach matter.


Keygrid 'manuals' could be designed to stack as manuals - this will take some development.
A different type of grid you can see here is the Soundplane https://madronalabs.com/soundplane
I show those to make it evident that keygrid layouts can also be more horizontal than square.

mnailor wrote:Does a pedalboard made up as a grid work well? At least you only need one pedalboard.
The keygrid is certainly an interesting idea.


I began learning on the pedalboard with Hauptwerk [a pedamidikit 27 key] - to have that capacity to play with my feet and explore organ music. I will not propose the 'pedalgrid' concept right now 8) It will take longer than the keygrid to be considered. Although I have brainstormed a few ideas. As an instrument it would have to be made at some prototype level to least demonstrate the idea further.
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FrankFrontera

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 2:36 pm

mnailor wrote:Confident predictions are easy, but until you can demonstrate new keyboard music that is both an attractive musical advancement and completely impossible to play using traditional keyboards, which are then shown to be holding back important progress in musical composition and performance, you're just giving an opinion.

And the hardest part of getting a new standard adopted is proving that it fully supports everything the existing standard does, without losing any nuances or making traditional works more difficult to perform artistically and in their period's style.


You're right - time will tell.
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mnailor

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 2:36 pm

Good answers there, and things to explore. Referring to your previous, I mean.
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FrankFrontera

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 2:43 pm

mnailor wrote:Good answers there, and things to explore. Referring to your previous, I mean.


Thank you! And likewise you bring up important points. That is what I consider healthy discussion on this.

Addition:
The keygrid as a standard will take a long, long time. Keyboardists will not be swapping out and re-configuring their keyboards to keygrids (well, most of you won't, clearly :)). Keygrid instruments will be introduced and will coexist even as the keyboard is still the standard in the immediate and mid-term future..

I am not going to address someone in full every time they mention a Keyboard Defense - because it does not prove anything against the keygrid, except reinstating how the keyboard is still dominant. I have addressed many of the points already in the thread, and in the summary document.

I am already proving much of the keygrid's value in contrapuntal playing that provides a worthy alternative for many to the keyboard.

Yes - the touch-sensitive pads I currently use are not ideal velocity function. I actually often limit the velocity on them, because the calibration of velocity touch doesn't feel exactly right. But this is due to my feel of the pads and tech, not the keygrid layout. The Liinstrument https://www.rogerlinndesign.com/linnstrument may improve on this significantly, but I haven't got my hands on one yet. Then there's the whole MPE discussion, but that's another story.

I will demonstrate 4 or 5 part fugues when my skills, a student's, or someone else gets there. Its a very demanding suggestion for immediate proof to qualify for considerations of the keygrid.
*I do realize more clearly after these discussions that some of the elements of playing on the keygrid for more advanced piano performance and compositions will need verification - but to get there, it will help if more people get involved in learning it, and more instrument manufacturers consider developing and experimenting with the keygrid. That's part of my goal here. To introduce and have feedback on the keygrid concept, with these aims in mind.

If you're actually watching my videos and seeing my hand, wrist motions and finger placements, interval and chord positioning - you would be able to extrapolate on how further elements of piano playing will be possible with the right development of keys for the keygrid in future models. There are others playing keygrid instruments such as the few models I have mentioned.

So I will continue to develop on and promote the keygrid interface. When a physical or hybrid instrument with keys, hammers and so on is created/ obtained, more demonstrations will begin to address those further points of piano and velocity specific technicalities.
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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostFri Oct 15, 2021 11:45 am

Good afternoon.

I have watched with some interest, but also with bemusement, as this method of instrument-interfacing has become very popular (perhaps unsurpisingly) in the Electronica genre. However, I valued Frank's post because I had not previously been able to quite work out the structure of the notational layout on the key-grid - but now I know!

I have also had discussions with several musical friends on the diverging approaches to both musical instrument interfacing (this being one example), and on the means of recording musical notation (such as the resurgence of the piano-roll) and the more traditional methods of so-called classical or serious music, and quite a lot of pop, DJ, and electronica. But this is the first time I have noted this interfacing working with more traditional music styles. So thanks for that.

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Re: 'keygrid' instrument setup - utilizing Hauptwerk instrum

PostSun Oct 17, 2021 12:55 pm

kaspencer wrote:Good afternoon.

I have watched with some interest, but also with bemusement, as this method of instrument-interfacing has become very popular (perhaps unsurpisingly) in the Electronica genre. However, I valued Frank's post because I had not previously been able to quite work out the structure of the notational layout on the key-grid - but now I know!

I have also had discussions with several musical friends on the diverging approaches to both musical instrument interfacing (this being one example), and on the means of recording musical notation (such as the resurgence of the piano-roll) and the more traditional methods of so-called classical or serious music, and quite a lot of pop, DJ, and electronica. But this is the first time I have noted this interfacing working with more traditional music styles. So thanks for that.

Kenneth Spencer


Thanks Kenneth - I am glad you find it interesting. It indeed is popular in the electronic music production world, which as in my example - is what largely influenced the source hardware to begin exploring the concept. Although the patent for the layout is within Prior Art.

The keyboard would eventually and naturally expand its demographics to other genres as they developed - perhaps for the keygrid it is the other way around in a sense; it can be tested, compared and modified in different models for different styles now in its own development as an interface.

The following keyboard expression types should be replicated on keygrid models. The only necessary modifications are to accommodate the keygrid as the instrument control surface - not changing the sound producing mechanics:

'Velocity sensitivity:
how fast or hard the keys are pressed (like the piano)

-Aftertouch, or pressure sensitivity:
the amount of pressure on a key, once already held down (like clavichords and synthesizers)

-Displacement sensitivity:
distance that a key is pressed down (like pipe and electronic organ)'

In these respects, I would propose a relatively shorter distance from key press to strike than the keyboard. This changes the performance dynamics to a degree, yet accommodates expression for the larger interval range available for each hand (without changing position) respectively. Also, new models can explore a mild, perhaps convex elevation of the black keys, and possibly an even more mild concave depression in the white keys - to provide tactile, isomorphic purposes for the keygrid interface.
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