Rubinstein loved it. Liszt loved it. Now you can buy it!

Black Future For Piano Teachers?

What will we do with all our used piano teachers when logical keyboards finally take over?

Well, they could be recycled. After all, some of them have a lot to offer on a purely musical level, and they could quickly adapt to the new layout themselves. Obviously they won’t be able to hang on to their star students as long as they do now, since the logical keyboard is twelve times quicker to master.

But the upside is, the smooth learning curve will mean less pupil drop-outs, so teachers will be spared those anxious moments on the phone asking Billy’s mom if he has forgotten his lesson again.

Yes, even teachers have the rent to pay.

I have it on apocryphal authority that the Jankó keyboard won the approval of Artur Anton Rubinstein who said that if he were to start again he would choose it, and of Franz Liszt, who swore it would take over the world in 50 years time.

He was out by a few years. So far 132 springs have slunk by since Paul Jankó’s patent. We have had to wait for technology to catch up. We are still waiting for mentalities to shape up.

Now you can buy it!

I am glad to see that Chromatone has finally made an English version of their shop, and are kicking off with 65% price reductions on their two models. The CT-312 has 5 wholetone rows + 1 chromatic row covering 6 octaves, while the Wholetone Revolution boasts 6+1 rows covering the whole 88-key piano range:

Here you have the 6-octave CT-312:

The Chromatone CT-312

The Chromatone CT-312

And here is the Wholetone Revolution with the whole 88-key shebang:

The 88-key Wholetone Revolution

The 88-key Wholetone Revolution

I read on the Chromatone website that these keyboards are based on something called the “Muto” learning method (and not the other way round!). You must ignore this red herring.  You may have noted my opinion of alternative notation systems as stated in an earlier post. The whole point about intuitive instruments is that everything you need to know is under your fingers. You just have to winkle it out.

Anyone who isn’t convinced, or who still finds their prices a tad too “aspirational”, should download their Android app and learn how to tap out tunes and chords the easy way. Seriously, you will be amazed and ask, why has nobody thought of this before?

Well they did a while back, and now it’s your turn!

[added 15/12/2014] PS. Anyone interested in the history of  logical keyboards should check out Dominique Waller’s very thorough research paper here: oops, see below

[added 08/06/2015] PPS. Sadly Dominique seems to have removed his very thorough research paper from Scribd

eyboardFollow me on Twitter @jazzpanflute

About jazzpanflute

jazz panpipe pioneer and designer
This entry was posted in Intuitive Instruments and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Rubinstein loved it. Liszt loved it. Now you can buy it!

  1. WALLER says:

    I think those quotes from Rubinstein and Liszt are apocryphal. I’ve searched and never found any confirmation in all the biographies of Liszt I’ve browsed. What seems certain, however, is that Liszt showed interest in the invention of cardinal Bartolomeo Grassi-Landi, a two-row symmetrical piano, as the cardinal himself has related. But the Rubinstein you mentionned is not Artur, but Anton Rubinstein, a contemporary of Liszt and Janko and a pianist virtuoso. Dominique

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WALLER says:

    Well, I haven’t suscribed to read the end of the article of The New Scientist … but, the assertion is relatively soft: Liszt and Anton Rubinstein would have “promoted” the Janko piano. No quotes mentionned. and you’ll notice that the author doesn’t confuse Anton Rubinstein with Artur like all the rest…


  3. jazzpanflute says:

    I like it even if it is no more than an urban myth. I contacted the author of that letter and he too has his doubts. Luckily, I am not a historian or an academic and I am just hoping to spread the good word about intervallic awareness for musicians to help them “play like singing in the shower”. As the proud owner of one of these keyboards, I invite you to comment on how it has (or hasn’t) helped you as a musician.


  4. Joh K. Drinda says:

    I trust good Franz and Arthur for having checked it out and properly assessed the Janko’s Kbd advantages and benefits; much better than we ever could… and thus, only Kbd players equal to their caliber are entitled to contradict their assessment.


    • jazzpanflute says:

      I have been corrected by another reader, who says it was Anton and not Arthur. And he even suggests that the story of their testimonials is entirely apocryphal!


    • WALLER says:

      You got me wrong, Joh. I don’t contradict their assessement, I take the Janko in high esteem. I say that we canot be sure they really did say that. They could have said it, but it is not shure. History has shown that a lot of words have been attributed to celebrities that couldn’t be confirmed or that were clearly apocryphal. It’s just a question of historical truth and/or journalistic precision.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I only wished there would be a Janko adapter Kbd with MIDI -OUT plug. available, which I can plug into my Tyros 3 (or any Synth), because the Chromatone sounds are rather poor…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jazzpanflute says:

    What? No MIDI out? What were they dreaming of? Did you check out the more expensive one (Wholetone Revolution), or There is also the new Lippens keyboard, and if all else fails, my keyboard adapter on Shapeways. But for that you would need to buy a MK149 MIDI keyboard and then rip it open to make the conversion.


  7. I don’t ever give up on my dream to build a Janko Kbd layout on top of my Yamaha Tyros3 Kbd and already finished the preparations for it.Since Tyros replacement keys cost each about $13 (incl. shipping & tax), I thought up an innovative method to protect the keys from glue damage and create a firm platform onto which I can epoxy glue the wooden Janko key support blocks.
    This method also offers a chance to revers the Janko to its original traditional zebra piano keyboard layout, in case I want to sell the Tyros and the buyer does not like the Janko layout.

    The key protection consist of covering the black keys with a 0.35mm thin, galvanized tin and the white keys with 0.45mm galvanized tin covers, which only cover the top of the white keys.
    After cutting the tin covers, I gently hammered them on a flat iron to perfectly straiten and flatten them. Thus, the 0.35mm tin and its tight fit prevents all contact with adjacent keys and the keys function as normal. This method is less risky than hot-glue gluing the wooden support blocks of the Janko layout. Albeit this method too, was reversible, it involves hair dryer heat, which might deform the plastic keys and is not as strong as epoxy-glue.
    I also found and bought these great looking buttons for it:
    They are a bit thick (8mmm) and I might have to sand them down somewhat.
    Here is a sgl. Pic of how I tin covered the Tyros3 keys:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I revised my plans and now… I finally got it right (I think!) – I now developed a “snap-on Janko Kbd Adapter”. Yes, it will be a bit work, but at least it won’t interfere with my Tyros. It will be merely put on top of the Tyros Kbd and held in position by two air suction cups. So, to mount and dismount it, will be a matter of 2 minutes! It will be also robust, because all parts are epoxy glued! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s