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 Post subject: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:38 pm 
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Greetings to you wonderful piano keyboard experts and acrobats,

Some 55 years ago, I practiced the piano accordion for about 10 years by ear, but then my working life allowed less time for practice. Later on I discovered my whistling to music (audition my whistled ChopNocturne1. below).
Since the late organist Klaus Wunderlich confirmed (in writing) that my hearing seems all right, thus now in my retirement try to rekindle my past piano Kbd joys on a Yamaha Tyros3. At the moment I just play my Tyros non-stop at any rhythm and fitting melody I find interesting.
It's weird that I never run out of "puff" (i.e. "melody")... says my wife. She finds it interesting and thinks its "a big song". Yet, I reckon my skills are just plain horrible, because I play just bits and pieces of yesteryear's' melodies, which come to mind. When it gets boring, I press "Transpose" and straight away a new melody springs into mind... but it really keeps me going!! :oops:
The sad truth is... my Tyros Kbd is actually "playing me" and I wonder when the day will come on which I'll be playing the Tyros? :?
Thus, since I don't like to get into notation, I would be grateful for some practical advice on how best to advance my dexterity and mind synchronization? I suppose it's merely a matter of practice? Yet, I imagine "the right practice" is important!
I mean, I can hear when some combinations go wrong and thus, immediately correct them, yet progress seems to be very slow. Maybe that' normal? Once a great accordion player told me something similar. Anyway, I developed the habit to practice the piano Kbd for about 2-3 Hrs. and so, hope to getting better with spit and patience.
I'm also toying with the thought of converting my Kbd to a 3-layer Janko/Uniform layout, which I already successfully built, a couple years ago over the Kbd of my old Roland D20 Synth. That would do away with learning (& keep on practicing) additional 11 major and 11 minor scales.
Warm Regards,
Johannes K. Drinda from summery Chile


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Hello Johannes, and welcome to Piano Society! :)

This is the most incredible and unusual recording of this nocturne that I have ever heard! :o :o Wow!!!! I was totally unprepared and shocked, but really this is so delightful! And your introduction is a delight too - I am glad you have come here. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:51 pm 
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Odd, beautiful, mesmerizing, definitely musical ... stop-you-in-your-tracks (I'm having difficulty forming complete thoughts). Whatever else can be said, the performance at the piano was very well executed and very musical, in fact, artistic. You need to be on some TV talent show. If I must be critical of something, then let it be said that sometimes the pitch is not accurate. Very interesting!

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:42 am 
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Thx for the flowers... but you are sooo much better at the keyboard. That's why I was thinking to shower you with some of my whistled piano tunes in the hope that you in turn help me with some practical advice on how I can get better at my Piano Kbd.

That my pitch is "sometimes not accurate" makes me sad. I'm grateful to you to put me right, albeit I won't be ever able to work out, for I'm a lousy musical theorist & mathematician, yet make up for it with emotional feel. :) To blame are the late conductor Stuart Challender (who awarded me $1000 in a musician's competition, organist Klaus Wunderlich (whom I sent 3 audio cassettes), and violinist Jaroslaw Powichrowski & concert pianist Prof. Gerhard Erber etc. I live performed with, for they suffer from bad hearing and flawed musical judgement and made me believe in wrong achievements.
The problem with me is that I embrace music purely emotional; by heart & soul without notation and robotics. That in turn might confuse many strict musicians, focusing onto note-by-note... whereas I conceive the piece note-by-note plus emotional passage-by emotional passage and thus, try to do justice to both entities.
Well, allow me to try again... and see if this time someone of your great piano finger acrobats and artists are willing to kick me to some practical guidelines on how I can get better at my piano Kbd! :)


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:43 am 
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But Johannes,
My comment about pitch is about your whistling, not the piano playing. It only happens when you try to reach extremely high notes that are too high for you. You could try bringing it down an octave if needed (if you understand what I mean). Your emotional connection to the music is very evident and captivating.

Best wishes,
Eddy

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:52 am 
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musical-md wrote:
But Johannes,
My comment about pitch is about your whistling, not the piano playing. It only happens when you try to reach extremely high notes that are too high for you. You could try bringing it down an octave if needed (if you understand what I mean). Your emotional connection to the music is very evident and captivating.
Best wishes,
Eddy

Thanks Eddy for the comment. The thing is, I don't think much about whether to whistle high or low. I am totally devoted to the music and to me my whistling sounds right otherwise I would not even whistle it. I happen to enjoy high whistling tunes, because (like a violin) they dominate the melody emotionally. I like to thing that the soul is the most important bit in music.
Sure some high tunes might sound " a little overstretched", yet in most cases (when I apply it) this is a desirable effect. Like in the Warsaw Concerto I introduce lots of "seemingly overdone high tails and tremolo/ vibrato variations", yet again ...I feel they are necessary in the emotional context.
I got professional musicians, who told me that from now on they are going to enjoy the Warsaw Concerto only with my whistling. It's, because when you look at it from the music-lover point of view: it has been emotionally enhanced. That's my endeavor and makes me very happy, when music lovers/ musicians confirm it on their own accord.
My sister plays the flute and objects to my improvisations of Mozart's music. She insists that Mozart did not write them and therefore I should strictly stick to his compositions. Yet, I feel that my improvisations are emotionally in perfect parity with Mozart's creativity and it's the melody itself, which "kick me to indulge in them".
Here's yet another whistled roller-coaster piano performance with lots of high and wrong pitched tunes, yet I reckon it fits the piece!:


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:05 am 
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I'm a little confused....you are whistling along with recordings, right? And sorry, but Eddy is correct about your pitch not being accurate on the high notes. Mostly your pitch is good when the notes are mid-range. But those high notes are just simply too high! For anyone! It's very apparent on the Mozart Rondo, although it did sound cute for a little while. "Ave Maria" is okay, except you went up an octave right near the start, and then you go off the melody and improvise a little along with the accompaniment, which I guess I am like your sister in that I don't think one should stray off the melody in this piece (it's one of my favorites) (I don't like when present-day pop singers do that, either). But still, your love of music is obvious and should be commended.

However, when it comes to helping with improving your own piano playing when you admit to playing only by ear, then we have a problem. All of us here have seriously studied with piano teachers for many, many years, and really the best advice for you is to hook up with your own teacher. Playing by ear is good and can enable one to play a lot of music, but think how great it would be if you could also read music! Then you could actually learn to 'play' and also 'whistle along with' some of the music you know and love! :)

Sorry, that's the only advice I can offer you right now. Maybe some other members will have more to say....

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:06 am 
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Hello Johannes,
I think the Chopin nocturne is very tastefully an artistically whistled along to. Not sure if adding anything to such a piece is the right thing to do, but it sort of works here. You sound sometimes like a bird and sometimes like a violin played on the highest pitch. The highest notes being a little flat did not bother me so much here.
I've only listened to parts of the other tracks, I found those to get too schmaltzy and operetta-like. Nothing wrong with that per se, but not my thing. I would have no idea to advise you on your keyboard playing. as we don't get to hear any of it here. My advice to everybody wanting to improve their skill and musicality is to play Bach, but as you seem more of an improviser, this may not work for you. Maybe some of the folks here who also improvise have some tips.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:45 pm 
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Thank you all for the good advice on how to improve my Kbd skills. I might consider the WYSIWYG Klavarskribo notation, for it somewhat limits the theoretical bit.
In regard to my whistling, I suppose it's all a matter of individual musical taste. It's the same with me for not liking Hip-Hop, Rap and most of Metal- & Rock music. I enjoy romantic, emotionally rich music (like the Warsaw Concerto and some of Suppe's overtures. etc.) and it really grabs me. Here's my whistling rendition of Suppe's "The Beautiful Galathea" and "Dichter und Bauer" (Poet & Peasant). Again, you might object to incorrect pitches of my high tunes, but maybe able to tolerate them in the context of the performance. Besides, in Sydney.au a great pianist enjoyed my whistling in the latter piece:


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:45 pm 
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I much enjoy Suppe's rousing overtures. But preferably without all the continuous whistling, which really wears thin after a while and starts to become irritating, distracting from the music. It's also quite off-topic for a piano forum, so I don't think you should be posting any more of this.
Klavarskribo is indeed an option if you don't want to learn the conventional notation. A great many amateur organists use Klavarskribo, not sure why.
Pianists use it less I think, and probably the available repertoire is just a tiny fraction of all there is. It will severely limit your choice of pieces.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:28 am 
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techneut wrote:
I much enjoy Suppe's rousing overtures. But preferably without all the continuous whistling, which really wears thin after a while and starts to become irritating, distracting from the music. It's also quite off-topic for a piano forum, so I don't think you should be posting any more of this.
Klavarskribo is indeed an option if you don't want to learn the conventional notation. A great many amateur organists use Klavarskribo, not sure why.
Pianists use it less I think, and probably the available repertoire is just a tiny fraction of all there is. It will severely limit your choice of pieces.

Yes I agree, the acceptance of whistling to music is purely a matter of personal like or dislike, too.

Klavarskribo is easier to learn and read, for its a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) notation. They even got a small freeware program, called "KlavarScript", which automatically transcribes MIDI-files into Klavarskribo notation; i.e. any MIDI program converts traditional notation into a MIDI-file! Hence, your PC makes this progress possible!

Most pianists were and still are forced to learn the traditional, zebra piano Kbd layout and its traditional notation and that explains why they got stuck with it and nobody wants to relearn! I somewhere read that it takes about 6 times longer to master the present zebra piano layout, then with a Jankó piano layout and Klavarskribo notation!!

The Jankó piano layout is as progressive as the Klavarskribo notation. At the time of its invention, the Jankó keyboard was hailed as revolutionary. Arthur Rubinstein said of the Jankó piano, "If I were to begin my career anew it would be on this keyboard." Franz Liszt said "This invention will have replaced the present piano keyboard in fifty years' time!"
Little did they know how "inflexible, stagnant and bleak" its evolution is going to turn out... up to this very day!

As mentioned, I built a 3-row Jankó/ Uniform Kbd over my old Roland D20 piano Kbd (see attachment). I even designed a special/ appropriate notation and a template for it, which graphically corrects the KlavarScribo program.

Apropos "acquisition of dexterity":
I thought you accomplished Kbd artists and acrobats might have some practical guidelines for by ear- learners on hand, but it doesn't look like there's such a thing!? Hence, all I can and will do is, to apply my rather poor Kbd experiences of the past and just play on... until I get the results I long for !?
The other time, I tried to get my fingers used to running the Kbd up and down on several days. First only the white keys and then chromatically and noticed, that this somehow helped me. You see, that's the kind of guidelines I was looking for, in this forum and I am still somehow certain that a number of this type of practical guidelines do exist.


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:16 am 
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Here I found some interesting advantages about of the JANKO piano Kbd layout:

Paul von Janko, noble of Enyed, was bom June 2, 1856, at Totis, Hungary. After finishing his preparatory studies, he entered both the Polytechnicum and the Conservatory of Music, in Vienna. It is quite characteristic of the dual nature of the
virtuoso-inventor that he left both institutions with the highest prizes they offer.
He continued his musico-mathematical studies at the Berlin University under Helmholtz. The immediate result of these
researches was the keyboard which bears his name. From 1882 to 1884 he experimented on an ordinary parlor organ; in 1885
the first Janko grand piano was built; and on March 25, 1886, he gave his first concert thereon in Vienna.

The most ingenious and really meritorious invention, revolutionary in its character, is the keyboard patented in 1882 by Paul
von Janko of Austria. Moved by the desire to enable the amateur to execute the brilliant, but technically exceedingly difficult, essays of our modern composers, Janko constructed a keyboard of six tiers, one above the other, similar to the organ keyboard. On this keyboard tenths, and twelfths, can easily be produced by reaching a finger to the keyboard above or below that on which the hand is traveling. Arpeggios through the whole compass of the keyboard can be executed with a sweep of the wrist, which on the ordinary keyboard would hardly cover two octaves.

Indeed, with the Janko keyboard, the hand and arm of the player can always remain in their natural position, because to sound an octave requires only the stretch of the hand equal to the sounding of the sixth on the ordinary keyboard.
It is difficult to realize the manifold possibilities which this keyboard opens up for the composer and performer. Entirely
new music can be written by composers, containing chords, runs and arpeggios, utterly impossible to execute on the ordinary keyboard. It is not nearly so difficult for the student to master the technic of the Janko, as to become efficient on the present keyboard.

Like all epoch-marking innovations, this great invention is treated with indifference and open opposition. That poetic per-
former on the piano, Chopin, refused to play on the Erard grand pianos containing the celebrated repetition action, because his fingers were used to the stiflF percussion of the English action. Today however, English makers of concert grand pianos use the Erard action which Chopin disdained !

The piano virtuosos and teachers of the present day are opposing the Janko keyboard because its universal adoption would
mean for them to forget the old and learn the new. The music publishers object to it, because their stock on hand would depreciate in value, as the Janko keyboard naturally requires different fingering than that now printed with the published compositions.

My PS: Sadly, it would also mean less earnings for piano teachers. Hence, are we better off with the present layout ? :roll:

Source: http://archive.org/stream/pianosandthei ... g_djvu.txt


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:21 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Johannes,
Though I recognize your fine practical craftsmanship, what you decry as stayed, entrenched, inflexible, narrow or what ever you may wish to call it is nothing less than Knowing music! Though you speak with music by imitation, you are nonetheless illiterate in it. As a direct analog to language, you can talk to another, but you can neither write it, read it, parse it nor understand it's grammar or lexicon. Music has all of this, as well as it's many genres as does literature of any language. What you are attempting to promote, is an acknowlegment (and perhaps even an admiration) for musical illiteracy. Mechanical means of transmitting performance instructions, i.e. tablature, whether for a guitar, organ or piano, is nothing more than a pretense to enable those who know not the language -- a set of physical instructions totally devoid of artistic content and meaning. I think that your ability to mimic is remarkable, even fantastic. But you know nothing of what you are sounding. Additionally, it is a false dichotomy to suggest that because you approach music from a strictly emotional avenue, that trained musicians do not also embue their music with emotional expression and pathos. Rote learning has always been a defective means of learning, because its knowledge is stayed and limited. For you to now learn a piece for the first time would be horribly inefficient, where someone who can read music may possibly perform it at sight, just as a literate person make pick up a poem and read it aloud.

As far as the universal keyboard and the testimonials, suffice it to say that it has gone the same route as the invented universal language of espiranto: nowhere. You might as well attempt to invent a new system of measuring. We at PS are a group of pianists first and foremost. We share the literature with eachother and critique eachother and speak on terms that include the jargon of the art, whether theoretical, practical or aesthetic. In my opinion, despite your age (for I feel it is never too late to learn in general) you should begin the process of learning about music. It would be for you like entering for the first time into an enormous amusement park ready to be explored and discovered at every turn. Everyday would bring light upon some unknown aspect of this greatest of arts. As a former instructor in university and college, I would love to know that someone near you could begin to reveal these concepts to expand your understanding. It is far easier to learn the science of music at an advanced age, than it is to develop the skill to execute it. Think about it. Even zebras have their stripes for a reason!

Sincerely,
Eddy

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:36 pm 
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jjj wrote:
Apropos "acquisition of dexterity":
The other time, I tried to get my fingers used to running the Kbd up and down on several days. First only the white keys and then chromatically and noticed, that this somehow helped me. You see, that's the kind of guidelines I was looking for, in this forum and I am still somehow certain that a number of this type of practical guidelines do exist.


You might also know these as scales. You should work on these all the time. I try to work on scales and arpeggios daily. My first two years of playing I did not work on scales and my technique suffered because of this. I'm still trying to get rid of some bad habits I learned early on. Also, when I started working on scales daily my playing improved much more rapidly.

Even if you are determined to stay away from conventional teaching and theory, I would at least compromise and learn how basic scales and arpeggios work. Not only will this help your technique, it will probably help your playing by ear a lot as well. After all, tonal music is basically embellished/rearranged scales and arpeggios :P


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:53 pm 
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Eddy,

It's true that I have had no formal education in music. My love and ability for whistling to music stems from my forebears. Hence, I merely discovered, developed and enjoy their gift and even like it that way. It's part of my life's mission! To ensure its quality and not making a fool of myself, I requested the confirmation of qualified musicians and to my surprise their confirmations were pretty explicit and very encouraging.
In that way I gained confidence that I'm on the right track and so, enjoyed my musicality for many years. I said to myself "well, if these truly great musicians give you the blessings, that entitles you to reject the lesser opinions!" Sure there is always room for growth and improvement. That's why I re-perform many of my recorded pieces in an effort "to perfect them". It's only now that your evaluation puts all these confirmations to shame. :shock:

My piano Kbd ambitions are merely part of my musical happiness. I just love the sound of great pianos and most other instruments and harmonies. I also discovered that I got the latent ability for composing melodies and 20 years ago, even put it to the test. There again, I relied purely on my emotional musical creativity. Thus, (...you are right in thinking that I) developed a dislike for music theory, for they rather interfere then assist me in my artistic creativity. I also wrote a series of philosophical books, titled "A Guide To... Personal Contentment". There too, I failed to study theories/ works of other philosophers, out of fear to forsake my source of reasoning. Some readers accused me of "arrogating myself the origin of certain insight of other philosophers" to a point that I had to pacify them by assuring that that "if other philosophers mentioned the same insight readers can be certain that they have stolen it off me!"
During my musical pursuit too, I have been accused of having earned my abilities at the conservatory ...albeit I didn't even visit a crematory! My only piano Kbd practical experiences stem from playing the accordion and now the Yamaha Tyros.
My piano Kbd ambitions are to play it by ear & emotional feel. This might help me to dream up some interesting compositions.

For that I came here to this forum, requesting some good practical advice on how I can improve my Kbd dexterity, but I now see that the only advice I can hope for, is: starting aged 6, choose a piano teacher and practice 1000 hours p.a. for 15 years!
My solution: Help yourself so helps you God! Realizing that the traditional zebra piano Kbd layout requires about 6 times more learning time and practice, compared to the the Janko/ Uniform Kbd and Klavarsribo notation layout, I'm seriously consider accelerating my learning time with the latter setup. The great thing is that I'm still "a beginner at the Kbd" and i.e. having less to relearn! All that's left is to wish me good luck! :)

Sincerely,
Johannes


Last edited by jjj on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:59 pm 
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dctpianist wrote:
jjj wrote:
Apropos "acquisition of dexterity":
The other time, I tried to get my fingers used to running the Kbd up and down on several days. First only the white keys and then chromatically and noticed, that this somehow helped me. You see, that's the kind of guidelines I was looking for, in this forum and I am still somehow certain that a number of this type of practical guidelines do exist.


You might also know these as scales. You should work on these all the time. I try to work on scales and arpeggios daily. My first two years of playing I did not work on scales and my technique suffered because of this. I'm still trying to get rid of some bad habits I learned early on. Also, when I started working on scales daily my playing improved much more rapidly.

Even if you are determined to stay away from conventional teaching and theory, I would at least compromise and learn how basic scales and arpeggios work. Not only will this help your technique, it will probably help your playing by ear a lot as well. After all, tonal music is basically embellished/rearranged scales and arpeggios :P


Thank you dctpianist for the good advice,

At the moment I am only able to play c-maj and a min scales and chords. TAs mentioned, to play other scales I press the "transpose" button on my Tyros. Yes, learning and keep on practicing 24 scales & chords on the zebra piano Kbd is vital, albeit a pain in the proverbial! Solution: Since I consider myself a "piano Kbd beginner", I still have the chance to learn (instead unlearning + re-learning!) the Janko/ Uniform Kbd layout and Klavarskribo notation, instead. That will do away with earning the grossly irregular, traditional zebra piano Kbd layout and its equally complicated notation.
I reckon it only serves piano teachers and helps professional musicians to distance themselves from amateur pianists. Yet, the time has come that computers bridge this gap. Now the quest is for a Kbd layout and notation, which offers creative music lovers the easiest way to learn and play a musical Kbd?

Back to my Kbd playing:
I noticed that I'm automatically start getting into arpeggios during the frenzy of my daily practice. At times I get really excited and go on until my backside hurts from too long sitting. All I know that eventually this type of drive leads me to get better at what I am doing; simple as that! Since, I'm not practicing according to any guidelines, I'm getting all sorts of surprises! The Tyros' rhythm incites and forces me to comply! The Tyros itself seems to be my best teacher! Playing the Kbd is great fun and I am almost sure that if I would submit my enthusiasm to a piano teacher, it soon would die a tragic death... :(
Jeez, I'm sooo glad having gained and preserved that childlike fondness in musical creativity, which enables me to keep on enjoying it for the rest of my life! :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:10 am 
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jjj wrote:
Thank you dctpianist for the good advice,

That will do away with earning the grossly irregular, traditional zebra piano Kbd layout and its equally complicated notation.
I reckon it only serves piano teachers and helps professional musicians to distance themselves from amateur pianists. Yet, the time has come that computers bridge this gap. Now the quest is for a Kbd layout and notation, which offers creative music lovers the easiest way to learn and play a musical Kbd?

Back to my Kbd playing:
Since, I'm not practicing according to any guidelines, I'm getting all sorts of surprises! The Tyros' rhythm incites and forces me to comply! The Tyros itself seems to be my best teacher! Playing the Kbd is great fun and I am almost sure that if I would submit my enthusiasm to a piano teacher, it soon would die a tragic death... :(
Jeez, I'm sooo glad having gained and preserved that childlike fondness in musical creativity, which enables me to keep on enjoying it for the rest of my life! :wink:


To be honest, I haven't found it extremely complicated. Then again, I gobble up practically everything about classical music. You just have to be in the right mindset for it. If you convince yourself that learning conventional notation and theory and playing on a "zebra layout" is needlessly complicated, then it probably will be.

I think your view of piano teachers stereotypes them to a shameful degree, and I hope it changes. Both piano teachers that I've had have been remarkably encouraging and have given me a great deal of freedom. I bombard my current teacher with composers and music he's never heard of, and if he thinks the music has merit he gladly welcomes it. He has yet to assign me a single piece (I don't think he ever will), and if he does not approve of a piece that I bring to him it's always for very good reasons that he thoroughly explains. Additionally, I'm given all the freedom in the world to experiment with the pieces and try to bring my own musical voice into whatever I'm working on. Even though I've only been playing for about 5 years and am an absolute beginner, I come up with my own fingerings, my own phrasing and dynamics when the music allows it, etc. We discuss what I do during lessons and if he objects to anything he once again explains why very thoroughly. In fact, about the only thing he is adamantly in control of is matters of technique, which I absolutely agree with. I got "shouted at" last week for incredibly sloppy finger work which was hindering my ability to play scalar passages in a Haydn sonata, and I'm fine with that because I was floundering and he knows better than I do in that regards.

Long story short: Not all teachers are the same. Find one who matches what you want to get out of learning to play, and it will be more than worth it. Think of a teacher less as someone who expects you to do as they say, and more as someone who can help you make the most out of your unique skills and style through insight that only comes with years and years of experience that they have and you don't.


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:54 am 
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Thanks again dctpianist for the good advice!

You see, the last year I intensively researched Janko vs zebra Kbd layout and Klavarskribo vs traditional notation.
Once you discover the advantages of the former, you'll find it hard to ignore them. Particularly then, when they are in easy reach.

Once I get into tuition with the guidance of a teacher, I'll forfeit these advantages. It's a little like deciding which accordion to learn? When I was young and had to decide on that, I was totally unaware of the existence and advantages of the C-system button accordion. Thus, I had to put up with a piano accordion. I wished the piano Kbd would have this type of chromatic layout, because then the Kbd would be much shorter and you could command a hand span of more than two octaves!
The great thing is that the Janko Kbd layout is only slightly different from the zebra Kbd and thus, easily converted and beginners (like me) will be able to adjust to it in no time. Of course I then will have to apply (my invented) Klavarskribo correction to learn the Janko Kbd layout with the help of notation. As you see, it's an adventure worth trying...
It costs me only a bit of fine wood and about 5 days to convert my Kbd to Janko/ Uniform layout. The notation for it is already done.
I then can do away with keep practicing 22 more scales and chord patterns. It will be also easier to play, for its keys are all 2cm wide. The same with the notation: I won't have to put up with "# & b" and a hard time to figure out a cluster of notes.

As you see, it's really worth it to benefit from these advantages, which of course will get me further in a shorter time. The only disadvantages mentioned was that I won't be able to play any zebra piano and read traditional notation. Since I'll be playing only my Tyros and my PC can easily convert any traditional notation to my Janko notation, it doesn't affect me.
End of problem! Yet, it was good that I did my homework to get that dilemma sorted out. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:23 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Hello Johannes,

I have a question for you about scale fingerings on your Janko adapter. If I understand correctly, the notes CDE are only available on the middle row, but FGAB appear on both lower and upper rows, so you have a choice of which row to play them on.

How do you play a C major scale? From what I have seen, the recommended Janko fingering for the right hand is to play CDE with 234, and FGAB with 1231, returning to C with 2 ready to continue with the next octave, and specifically that the thumb notes F and B should be played on the lower row, and G and A on the upper row.

Are you using this fingering? Or are you using a modified version in which the G and A are also played on the lower row (still using 2 and 3)? The latter would seem to involve some digital awkwardness with the thumb having to curl under and around the 3rd finger when making the A to B transition. This is less awkward on the traditional (zebra) keyboard because the keys are longer and the 3rd finger's contact point can be significantly further forward than the thumb's. This is why it is more comfortable, on Janko, to play only the thumb notes on the lower row and other notes on the upper row. It leaves a more unobstructed space through which the thumb can travel to its destination in a straighter line.

The reason I ask is that the claim that all 12 (major) scales can be played with the same fingering pattern cannot be true unless you either add a fourth row (probably on top, duplicating the middle CDE row), or you restrict your scale playing to two rows.

Why did you decide to build only 3 rows and not 4?


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Posts: 17
Hello rainer,

Quote:
I have a question for you about scale fingerings on your Janko adapter. If I understand correctly, the notes CDE are only available on the middle row, but FGAB appear on both lower and upper rows, so you have a choice of which row to play them on.

How do you play a C major scale? From what I have seen, the recommended Janko fingering for the right hand is to play CDE with 234, and FGAB with 1231, returning to C with 2 ready to continue with the next octave, and specifically that the thumb notes F and B should be played on the lower row, and G and A on the upper row.

Are you using this fingering? Or are you using a modified version in which the G and A are also played on the lower row (still using 2 and 3)? The latter would seem to involve some digital awkwardness with the thumb having to curl under and around the 3rd finger when making the A to B transition. This is less awkward on the traditional (zebra) keyboard because the keys are longer and the 3rd finger's contact point can be significantly further forward than the thumb's. This is why it is more comfortable, on Janko, to play only the thumb notes on the lower row and other notes on the upper row. It leaves a more unobstructed space through which the thumb can travel to its destination in a straighter line.

I built this 3-row Janko/ Uniform Kbd layout a few years ago. At that time I didn't bother about fingering. I suppose your fingering suggestion is fine. I merely wanted to try this Janko/ Uniform setup out and albeit it's pretty close to the traditional, zebra piano Kbd, I had quite a lot of difficulties of get used to play it by ear "without falling into its trap"! Since I couldn't find any appropriate notation for it, I gave up trying. Yet, now that I invented my own notation for it, I'm keen on giving it another go. This time my 3-row Janko/ Uniform Kbd will be even better.

Quote:
The reason I ask is that the claim that all 12 (major) scales can be played with the same fingering pattern cannot be true unless you either add a fourth row (probably on top, duplicating the middle CDE row), or you restrict your scale playing to two rows. Why did you decide to build only 3 rows and not 4?

It's, because the Uniform Janko Kbd for an accordion uses only the essential layout; i.e. restricting playing to available rows. That still allows the same fingering patterns to be used. In my case I intend to play the melody on my Tyros like an accordion; i.e. only with right hand using the left hand for Yamaha Styles and adjustments. In addition I plan to MIDI encode a 120-button accordion bass for manual chords and thus, combining it with Yamaha Styles accompaniment.


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:04 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
jjj,

There are two separate ideas you are trying to promote here, One is the Janko-style keyboard layout, the other is Klavarskribo notation (or your Janko-friendly version of it).

While you are trying to promote both of these together, they are in reality orthogonal concepts and it is perhaps better to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each idea separately. So I would like to leave the notation aspect for later, as it is probably less important, given that you prefer to play by ear. You also don't need notation to play scales.

I find the Janko concept interesting, but it is clear that its major stated benefit of universal transposability is only true in limited circumstances. A three-row system is severely limited: If you have some sample you can already play on it (be it a scale, or a simple melody, or a whole piece), and if you need all three rows to play it, then you cannot transpose this sample into all of the other 11 possible keys without changing any of the fingering pattern, but only into those 5 other keys which differ from the original by an even number of semitones. Only if your sample is playable on just two rows, can it be transposed into all other 11 keys like that.

In other words, if you can play a C major scale, then you can also play the scales of D, E, F#, G#, A# major using the same fingering, but you can't necessarily play F, G, A, B, C# major. Whether you can depends on whether your C scale fingering confines itself to two rows.

That's why I asked how you fingered a C major scale, I wanted to see whether you played it on two rows or three. I'm surprised to find you unable to give an answer. If the whole purpose of the idea is to let you learn to play all scales by learning just one, then once you've actually gone to the trouble of building this contraption, you would surely have at least gone to the trouble of learning that one scale, and some chords, otherwise the construction project would have been without purpose. Would you consider building a fourth row?

If you want to improve your keyboard skills, one of the ways is to practise scales and chords. Try it, and tell us how you finger them on your adapter:

1) C major scale
2a) A minor scale (harmonic)
2b) A minor scale (melodic ascending)
2c) A minor scale (melodic descending) - this will presumably be the same as C major
3abc) C major triads (3-note chords) CEG, EGC, GCE
4abc) C major (4-note) chords CEGC, EGCE, GCEG
56abc) like 34abc but A minor

You can't get completely away from theory!


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:51 pm 
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Posts: 17
Hi rainer,

Quote:
There are two separate ideas you are trying to promote here, One is the Janko-style keyboard layout, the other is Klavarskribo notation (or your Janko-friendly version of it). While you are trying to promote both of these together, they are in reality orthogonal concepts and it is perhaps better to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each idea separately. So I would like to leave the notation aspect for later, as it is probably less important, given that you prefer to play by ear. You also don't need notation to play scales.
I like to think that notation will greatly help me to learn the new Janko layout, because without it was pretty frustrating, because I failed to find the right key/ note. Thus, with notation I won't be anymore tapping in the dark. Later on, once my brain got the new pattern, I'll be able to play by ear.
Quote:
I find the Janko concept interesting, but it is clear that its major stated benefit of universal transposability is only true in limited circumstances. A three-row system is severely limited: If you have some sample you can already play on it (be it a scale, or a simple melody, or a whole piece), and if you need all three rows to play it, then you cannot transpose this sample into all of the other 11 possible keys without changing any of the fingering pattern, but only into those 5 other keys which differ from the original by an even number of semitones. Only if your sample is playable on just two rows, can it be transposed into all other 11 keys like that.
In other words, if you can play a C major scale, then you can also play the scales of D, E, F#, G#, A# major using the same fingering, but you can't necessarily play F, G, A, B, C# major. Whether you can depends on whether your C scale fingering confines itself to two rows.
Why not F. G, A, B, C# major scales? The scale pattern is always the same, consisting of: 3 keys, then 4 keys up; next octave the same! Of course I'll be always starting at the bottom or middle row.
[/quote]That's why I asked how you fingered a C major scale, I wanted to see whether you played it on two rows or three. [/quote] I suppose with that 3-row Janko it all depends in which row I start the scale.
Quote:
I'm surprised to find you unable to give an answer. If the whole purpose of the idea is to let you learn to play all scales by learning just one, then once you've actually gone to the trouble of building this contraption, you would surely have at least gone to the trouble of learning that one scale, and some chords, otherwise the construction project would have been without purpose. Would you consider building a fourth row?
Sure, I could do that. Which 4th row are you referring to; a row above or under the 3 rows and what's the advantage?
Quote:
If you want to improve your keyboard skills, one of the ways is to practise scales and chords. Try it, and tell us how you finger them on your adapter:
1) C major scale
2a) A minor scale (harmonic)
2b) A minor scale (melodic ascending)
2c) A minor scale (melodic descending) - this will presumably be the same as C major
3abc) C major triads (3-note chords) CEG, EGC, GCE
4abc) C major (4-note) chords CEGC, EGCE, GCEG
56abc) like 34abc but A minor
You can't get completely away from theory!
That's why I like to apply my notation. It allows me to get convert a piano tutor and also music sheets. My quest is to enjoy the easiest and fastest Kbd and notation layout to learn and play! That way I really won't need years lessons with a piano teacher or keep on practicing 22 more scales, its chord patterns and arpeggios. I leave it to professional musicians to enjoy the zebra piano and its notation. I can afford to benefit from progressive Kbd and notation layout. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:21 am 
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jjj wrote:
Quote:
In other words, if you can play a C major scale, then you can also play the scales of D, E, F#, G#, A# major using the same fingering, but you can't necessarily play F, G, A, B, C# major. Whether you can depends on whether your C scale fingering confines itself to two rows.
Why not F. G, A, B, C# major scales?
I've explained this. The Janko recommended scale fingering for right hand C major is to play CDE with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers, then to go down a row to play F with the 1st finger (the thumb), then you go up two rows to play GA with 2nd and 3rd fingers, down two rows to play B with thumb, and up one row to play C with 2nd again. If you follow that recommended fingering, it means your scale requires the use of 3 rows. If you only have 3 rows, then this pattern can be transposed only sideways, not up or down.
Quote:
The scale pattern is always the same, consisting of: 3 keys, then 4 keys up; next octave the same! Of course I'll be always starting at the bottom or middle row.
Well, if you can play your scale using only two rows, that would be OK, but I'm not convinced that there exists a physiologically suitable fingering for doing that. If you play 3 keys, then go up for the next 4 keys, and down again for the next 3, and so on, then what fingers are you using to play these 7 keys? If, for example, you start with CDE with 234 in the middle row, you can't then go up and play F with 1 on the upper row because it involves too much physical contortion. If you play F with 1 it has to be on the bottom row. The question then is where you play the next notes.
Quote:
Quote:
Would you consider building a fourth row?
Sure, I could do that. Which 4th row are you referring to; a row above or under the 3 rows and what's the advantage?
I was thinking above, but I don't think it's all that important whether it goes above or below. You already have two rows with FGAB in them, but only one with CDE, so that's the one you need to duplicate. If you've already glued the first 3 rows in position as low as they will go (that is to say nearest the player) then it makes sense for the 4th row to go above, if there is enough room to fit them in. It would be unfortunate if you had to rip the existing 3 rows up.
Quote:
Quote:
You can't get completely away from theory!
That's why I like to apply my notation.
No, that is illogical. How can a notation which is designed to go directly from printed representation to which button you press, deliberately bypassing awareness of what note is involved, help your understanding of theory? Especially if you want to play by ear, you need to know what notes and chords you are playing, independently of which buttons you press to obtain them!
Quote:
That way I really won't need years lessons with a piano teacher or keep on practicing 22 more scales, its chord patterns and arpeggios.
I don't know where you got that nonsensical idea from. For practical play-by-ear purposes most tunes are in a small subset of all possible keys, so you don't need to learn 24 scales (actually it's 36, but let's not quibble) and 12 major and 12 minor chords, etc, at all, you can get away with far fewer. Besides, even if you did want to learn them all, you don't need a teacher's intensive help with that. It doesn't take years, it takes weeks. Nevertheless, if you want to develop good technique, some lessons are probably going to be very useful. The trouble is that because this unusual keyboard layout is so rarely used, the chances of finding a teacher familiar with it are very slim. Technique, particularly advanced technique, on a Janko-style keyboard is going to be quite different from on a normal keyboard. I would go so far as to guess that many pieces in the repertoire which are quite challenging on the normal keyboard are very much more difficult on Janko.

The conclusion is obvious: Without a teacher your progress will be restricted. If you limit yourself to Janko-style keyboard, you won't find a teacher. Therefore, if you want to make progress, you must abandon the Janko idea and embrace the conventional keyboard. For similar reasons, and others which I can go into if you wish, you need to learn and use conventional notation, this Klavarskribo is not as helpful to you as you may think. It will perhaps get you to a particular level quickly, but you will then be stuck at that level until you learn "proper" notation. So, far from saving you time, it wastes your time. I suggest that at your age wasting time is something you can ill afford to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:33 am 
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Quote:
24 scales (actually it's 36, but let's not quibble)
Try 48! 12 minors x 3 versions =36, + 12 majors = 48. But for musician-pianists, there are more when counting the enharmonic spellings so as to make 60! Musicians actually think in either B major or Cb major, for example, as is necessary. :mrgreen:

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:57 am 
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Quote:
It would be unfortunate if you had to rip the existing 3 rows up.
As mentioned, I don't have this 3-row Janko / Uniform Kbd anymore on my Roland D20, because at that time I had no appropriate notation for it thus, learning was pretty frustrating. Now I plan to build a Janko Kbd over my Yamaha Tyros piano Kbd and use my "self-invented" notation, which is WYSIWYG type of notation, just like Klavarskribo, albeit especially modified to suit the Janko/ Uniform Kbd layout. Because the Klavarskribo notation is made for the traditional, zebra piano Kbd layout. Have a look at Klavarskribo, here: http://www.klavarmusic.org/
Quote:
I would go so far as to guess that many pieces in the repertoire which are quite challenging on the normal keyboard are very much more difficult on Janko.
Weird that you think so, because Janko experts claim the opposite: "Moved by the desire to enable the amateur to execute the brilliant, but technically exceedingly difficult, essays of our modern composers, Janko constructed a keyboard of six tiers, one above the other, similar to the organ keyboard. On this keyboard tenths, and twelfths, can easily be produced by reaching a finger to the keyboard above or below that on which the hand is traveling. Arpeggios through the whole compass of the keyboard can be executed with a sweep of the wrist, which on the ordinary keyboard would hardly cover two octaves. Indeed, with the Janko keyboard, the hand and arm of the player can always remain in their natural position, because to sound an octave requires only the stretch of the hand equal to the sounding of the sixth on the ordinary keyboard. It is difficult to realize the manifold possibilities which this keyboard opens up for the composer and performer. Entirely new music can be written by composers, containing chords, runs and arpeggios, utterly impossible to execute on the ordinary keyboard. It is not nearly so difficult for the student to master the technic of the Janko, as to become efficient on the present keyboard." Source: http://archive.org/stream/pianosandtheirm00dolggoog/pianosandtheirm00dolggoog_djvu.txt
Quote:
The conclusion is obvious: Without a teacher your progress will be restricted.
With my notation Ill be able to convert traditional notation of various zebra, piano Kbd tutors and thus, enjoy "professional guidance".


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:04 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Quote:
24 scales (actually it's 36, but let's not quibble)
Try 48! 12 minors x 3 versions =36, + 12 majors = 48.
Of course, but since the context is fingerings, I was deliberately not counting one of the minor versions because it consists of the same notes as the relative major, and can therefore in principle (though wouldn't necessarily always) be fingered the same.
Quote:
But for musician-pianists, there are more when counting the enharmonic spellings so as to make 60!
Only 60?
Quote:
Musicians actually think in either B major or Cb major, for example, as is necessary.
Indeed, but this thinking wouldn't make them finger the scales differently, would it?


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:24 pm 
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jjj wrote:
As mentioned, I don't have this 3-row Janko / Uniform Kbd anymore
Sorry, I missed that. It's a pity you threw it away. It might have been better if you had designed and built the adapter to be more easily transferable between keyboards, provided the keyboards in question all conform to standard key widths. Then you would not be restricted to your own instrument, but if you were going to play at someone else's house, you could leave your instrument behind and just take the adapter with you.
Quote:
Have a look at Klavarskribo,
I already have done, and I have terrible things to say about that too, I just haven't started yet! :)
Quote:
Quote:
I would go so far as to guess that many pieces in the repertoire which are quite challenging on the normal keyboard are very much more difficult on Janko.
Weird that you think so, because Janko experts claim the opposite:
They have an axe to grind, so their claims need to be taken cum grano salis. The claims of reduced difficulty seem in any case to be more related to span, and the keys being narrower, than to the changed layout leading to easier transposability.

Here are two reasons why the Janko layout is potentially more difficult to play than zebra layout:

1) Zebra keys are long, which gives the player the flexibility to make finger contact with them at any point along their length, to suit whatever position the hand is most comfortable in. Janko keys are short (they have to be for reachability reasons) and as a result the finger contact zone is much reduced in size, constraining the player's hand into potentially more uncomfortable shapes than they already can be with a normal keyboard.

2) It is often forgotten how useful it is to have the black keys at a higher level than the whites. This provides tactile feedback of hand position, so that the player doesn't need to look at the keys so much and can concentrate on reading the notes. Without this orienteering aid, a Janko player is more likely than a zebra player to slam his chord down one or two keys to the left or right, or a row up or down, from where it should be.
Quote:
Quote:
The conclusion is obvious: Without a teacher your progress will be restricted.
With my notation Ill be able to convert traditional notation of various zebra, piano Kbd tutors and thus, enjoy "professional guidance".
No, you won't. Your notation is designed (by you) to help you play on a Janko adapter. Your teacher, unless you are by coincidence lucky enough to find one who is a Janko expert, can't help you with that. A Janko piano (even without the key downsizing) and a normal piano are sufficiently different that many skills are simply not transferable from one to the other. Simply put, that means: if you are going to have lessons, you need to learn zebra, and if you want to learn Janko, you can't have lessons.

Also, it isn't going to help if you and your teacher aren't "singing from the same hymn sheet". Lessons aren't going to be very productive if your teacher is working from conventional notation and you from your own, because teaching will often involve pointing out things on the sheet. You may end up teaching your teachers about your notation, but don't forget who is paying whom for the lessons!

I'll say more about notation at a later stage, but KS notation is just so deficient in several important ways, that it will not do you any good in the long run.


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:44 pm 
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the lengths people will go to avoid doing the simple. It reminds me of Irving Berlin's piano: since he could not be bothered to learn the scales he had a piano constructed especially with seven pedals, one for each accidental, so that by depressing one pedal, for example, f became f sharp, allowing a D scale to be played with the same keys as the C scale.

Or P. MacCartney, who needed a sidekick to write down his requiem, because learning to read music wouldd (in his mind) have reduced his creativity. What a great composer was smothered by this hard-headedness and we were left with a half-baked songwriter.

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He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:38 pm 
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I only put the idea of creating a Janko adapter into my PDF, in the hope some manufacturer picks it up and markets it.
I wonder what's so terrible about Klavarskribo? I imagine... it doesn't conform to present standards and availability issues?
Anything else? :?
Quote:
Here are two reasons why the Janko layout is potentially more difficult to play than zebra layout:
1) Zebra keys are long, which gives the player the flexibility to make finger contact with them at any point along their length, to suit whatever position the hand is most comfortable in. Janko keys are short (they have to be for reachability reasons) and as a result the finger contact zone is much reduced in size, constraining the player's hand into potentially more uncomfortable shapes than they already can be with a normal keyboard.
2) It is often forgotten how useful it is to have the black keys at a higher level than the whites. This provides tactile feedback of hand position, so that the player doesn't need to look at the keys so much and can concentrate on reading the notes. Without this orienteering aid, a Janko player is more likely than a zebra player to slam his chord down one or two keys to the left or right, or a row up or down, from where it should be.
Zebra Problem: 1) Its Kbd layout is C-maj only. 2) Its black keys are only 1cm wide and it takes ages to get my brains programmed to that narrow error margin; whereas Janko keys are all equally sized at 2cm width; i.e. allowing for a generous 2cm error margin!
Quote:
...if you are going to have lessons, you need to learn zebra, and if you want to learn Janko, you can't have lessons.
Well, that's right: many/ most of the exercises required in a zebra Kbd tutor mightn't apply, because of Janko's simplicity. Yet, I will find lots of other useful exercise guidelines in it. Actually it might be fun to laugh the unnecessary exercises and payment to teachers away... :D
Quote:
I'll say more about notation at a later stage, but KS notation is just so deficient in several important ways, that it will not do you any good in the long run.

KS is being taught at the conservatory of music in Holland. It must be that you know better or they are wrong?


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:57 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
the lengths people will go to avoid doing the simple. It reminds me of Irving Berlin's piano: since he could not be bothered to learn the scales he had a piano constructed especially with seven pedals, one for each accidental, so that by depressing one pedal, for example, f became f sharp, allowing a D scale to be played with the same keys as the C scale.
I didn't know that. He must have picked up the idea from the harp, which has seven 3-position pedals, so each of the seven notes (simultaneously in all octaves) can be flat, natural, or sharp. The harp of course has just 7 strings per octave. It must be the easiest instrument in the world to play scales on! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:00 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
the lengths people will go to avoid doing the simple. It reminds me of Irving Berlin's piano: since he could not be bothered to learn the scales he had a piano constructed especially with seven pedals, one for each accidental, so that by depressing one pedal, for example, f became f sharp, allowing a D scale to be played with the same keys as the C scale.
Or P. MacCartney, who needed a sidekick to write down his requiem, because learning to read music wouldd (in his mind) have reduced his creativity. What a great composer was smothered by this hard-headedness and we were left with a half-baked songwriter.
Well, to me the lengths to which I'm prepared to go to avoid the complicated by doing the simple, is to embrace Janko/ Uniform Kbd layout, instead the traditional zebra piano Kbd layout. It's, because as a beginner I still can afford to make this choice, whereas you accomplished zebra pianists haven't got that kind of choice anymore. Please remember Rubinstein's and Liszt's evaluation of the Janko Kbd layout. My personal reason is: to acquire proficiency at the zebra Kbd takes at least 10000+ hours (or 10 years) of practice; i.e. at least six times longer than to gain the same level on the Janko!


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:08 pm 
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jjj wrote:
My personal reason is: to acquire proficiency at the zebra Kbd takes at least 10000+ hours (or 10 years) of practice; i.e. at least six times longer than to gain the same level on the Janko!


I mean no disrespect, but if this 'system' is so great, then why has it not caught on yet? I have never heard of Janko and that other stuff you mention.

@Rainer - scales on a harp...I can't imagine a harpest practicing scales. I thought they only play angel music.... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:17 pm 
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KS is being taught at the conservatory of music in Holland. It must be that you know better or they are wrong?
They are wrong! What about Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Milan, Madrid, London, the Juilliard, and many others. What a sad day it is for music in Holland! That reminds me of the fact that some medical schools don't use actual cadavers to teach gross anatomy anymore (they're too expensive), just models and electronics. Do you want to go to a doctor that's never actually dissected the human body? I hope not. God help those poor Dutch conservatory students waisting their precious and limited time with musical espiranto. "There ought to be a law!" :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:34 pm 
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@JJJ: It's not a "zebra piano" it's a piano. Period. Save your adjectives and qualifiers for the oddity: the Janko and KS. Though some here have to play keyboards out of necessity, they all pretty much aspire to being pianists, thus the "Piano Society." Ultimately, any help that you might have gotten from this forum (where no one does or thinks like you), has been given you already. I think that rainer has gone far beyond the "second-mile." You and I (and I think the other members of PS) don't share a common langauge to engage in. Your purpose is diametrically opposed to mine, which is to discuss the making of art music by pianists and to enable greater understanding of the science of music in general and of pianism in particular. You need to find a forum for Jankoists. You in fact are NOT "learing the piano Kbd by ear" so anything that many here could have offered you about dealing with the topographical features of the piano, etc. doesn't even apply. <I'm feeling exasperated by this -- but can remember that I too have unfortunately had my turn at exasperating others. Sorry.>

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:48 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
@JJJ: It's not a "zebra piano" it's a piano. Period. Save your adjectives and qualifiers for the oddity: the Janko and KS. Though some here have to play keyboards out of necessity, they all pretty much aspire to being pianists, thus the "Piano Society." Ultimately, any help that you might have gotten from this forum (where no one does or thinks like you), has been given you already. I think that rainer has gone far beyond the "second-mile." You and I (and I think the other members of PS) don't share a common langauge to engage in. Your purpose is diametrically opposed to mine, which is to discuss the making of art music by pianists and to enable greater understanding of the science of music in general and of pianism in particular. You need to find a forum for Jankoists. You in fact are NOT "learing the piano Kbd by ear" so anything that many here could have offered you about dealing with the topographical features of the piano, etc. doesn't even apply. <I'm feeling exasperated by this -- but can remember that I too have unfortunately had my turn at exasperating others. Sorry.>

I'm sooo sorry for having upset you. Please be so kind to ignore my responds; just in case another member of your Piano Society still dares to address my concerns, after this posting.
Q: Also, please advice me on how can I now cleanse (delete) all evidence of my presents in this forum. Thank you and once again, please forgive me of having met and for upsetting you. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:28 pm 
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jjj wrote:
musical-md wrote:
@JJJ: It's not a "zebra piano" it's a piano. Period. Save your adjectives and qualifiers for the oddity: the Janko and KS. Though some here have to play keyboards out of necessity, they all pretty much aspire to being pianists, thus the "Piano Society." Ultimately, any help that you might have gotten from this forum (where no one does or thinks like you), has been given you already. I think that rainer has gone far beyond the "second-mile." You and I (and I think the other members of PS) don't share a common langauge to engage in. Your purpose is diametrically opposed to mine, which is to discuss the making of art music by pianists and to enable greater understanding of the science of music in general and of pianism in particular. You need to find a forum for Jankoists. You in fact are NOT "learing the piano Kbd by ear" so anything that many here could have offered you about dealing with the topographical features of the piano, etc. doesn't even apply. <I'm feeling exasperated by this -- but can remember that I too have unfortunately had my turn at exasperating others. Sorry.>

I'm sooo sorry for having upset you. Please be so kind to ignore my responds; just in case another member of your Piano Society still dares to address my concerns, after this posting.
Q: Also, please advice me on how can I now cleanse (delete) all evidence of my presents in this forum. Thank you and once again, please forgive me of having met and for upsetting you. :oops:

Don't mind me. It's just my latin personality having it's way with me again!

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Hmm, it's hard for me to know which poster on this thread had the biggest attack of verbal diarrhea. It takes one to know one :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:23 pm 
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jjj wrote:
I wonder what's so terrible about Klavarskribo? I imagine... it doesn't conform to present standards and availability issues?
Well, it's not what I meant, but that is also an important point which cannot be ignored. It is difficult for the market to support different competing formats, as we know from what happened to Betamax, where commercial pressures were more powerful than technical superiority. I think it is widely acknowledged that Beta was superior to VHS but still it lost out even though it already had high market share. KS has neither high market share nor technical superiority, but survives in a niche market of people who have been fooled into thinking it will make their life easier.
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Anything else? :?
Yes, I'll get to that later.
Quote:
Zebra Problem: 1) Its Kbd layout is C-maj only.
That's not really true. You might as well say it's F# major only. I'm grateful to Richard for mentioning Irving Berlin, who apparently could not read or write music and played by ear. He only ever played in F# major because that was easiest for him because it uses all the black keys, which for him were easier to find and easier to strike. If he wanted to play in a different key, he used his transposing piano so that he could continue playing in F# major while sound came out in whatever key was required.

Anyway, F# major is a particularly easy scale to play, much easier than C major, because it makes you use the appropriate fingering intuitively. In C major you have to force yourself consciously to make the thumb changes in the right sequence (not that it matters if you don't, but if you don't you get into bad habits which will catch you in other keys).
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2) Its black keys are only 1cm wide and it takes ages to get my brains programmed to that narrow error margin;
This is a job for the fingers, not the brain!
If you're talking about relative error margin (where one hand has to play several notes together, and if one finger is in exactly the right place, the other(s) might not be), then you can train your hands so that the fingers involved are the right distance apart (which will be a whole multiple of 1.37cm), but even with Janko you should really do that anyway, and aim to hit each key in the middle if possible. If you're talking about absolute error margin, for long distance leaps, then you must agree that the black keys are of immense help because the hand can feel its place before it plays.

Talk of error margin raises an interesting point, by the way, namely that on the piano's white keys the "best" landing point for the fingers to aim for is not always the middle of the key. You need only to look at the key shapes to realise why. The ideal place to aim for (from the point of view of training the fingers to use the same distance multiple everywhere) is the centre with respect to the 1.37cm all-key spacing. But of course the white-key spacing is not double the all-key spacing, it is 12/7 of it, or about 2.35cm. The white key error margins are asymmetric. This is merely a consequence of how the geometry must work out. But you will just hold this up as another disadvantage! :)
Quote:
whereas Janko keys are all equally sized at 2cm width; i.e. allowing for a generous 2cm error margin!
It's much less! The error margin is the maximum amount by which the centre of your finger can be off target (the target being the centre of the key) before there finger risks hitting any part of an adjacent key (the problem is not just hitting the wrong key instead of the right one, it is hitting the wrong key together with the right one). The error margin is half the key width minus half the finger width plus the inter-key gap. The key spacing should be 2.35cm (so if your keys are 2cm wide you must have a generous 3.5mm gap), and let's say your finger width is 1.4cm, so the error margin is 6.5mm.

Now, to get back to what you said about black key error margin. With raised keys the margin must be calculated differently. How far off-target can the finger be before it risks to fail to operate the key in question? Well, an easier question to answer is how far the finger needs to be off-target before it will definitely fail to operate the key, and the answer is half the key width plus half the finger width, so that would be 12mm. Obviously we need to deduct an allowance to ensure we do hit it, but you can see that the margin is going to be about the same as for your Janko keys, and probably even a little more!
Quote:
Quote:
...if you are going to have lessons, you need to learn zebra, and if you want to learn Janko, you can't have lessons.
Well, that's right: many/ most of the exercises required in a zebra Kbd tutor mightn't apply, because of Janko's simplicity.
The problem isn't so much that many of the zebra exercises are not relevant, it's the lack of Janko tutors and of teachers with Janko expertise.
Quote:
Quote:
I'll say more about notation at a later stage, but KS notation is just so deficient in several important ways, that it will not do you any good in the long run.
KS is being taught at the conservatory of music in Holland.
Are you sure? If you're referring to the KS Institute, I don't think that qualifies as a conservatory. If they're really teaching KS at conservatory, it must be either because they are trying to show everyone how bad it is, :) or because they are catering to the niche organist market which happens to be concentrated there.


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Don't mind me. It's just my latin personality having it's way with me again!

Actually, I agree with you, calling the beloved piano "zebra" is somewhat offensive (to a point that it even lions might mistake it for a new food source...). My Germanic personality is fairly tolerant and lacid. My wife congratulates me for having preserved that childlike (not childish) happiness, for over here in Chile most blokes (chaps) over 60 turn into "asquerosos lachos"!


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Quote:
KS is difficult for the market to support different competing formats, as we know from what happened to Betamax, where commercial pressures were more powerful than technical superiority. I think it is widely acknowledged that Beta was superior to VHS but still it lost out even though it already had high market share. KS has neither high market share nor technical superiority, but survives in a niche market of people who have been fooled into thinking it will make their life easier.
In my case it really makes my life easier, for it eliminates most of the theoretic prerequisites of traditional notation; i.e. I can immediately start playing it. It's almost like a piano roll and that's what notation should be and is.

The present Kbd layout is C-maj only.
Quote:
That's not really true. You might as well say it's F# major only.
Yes, agreed... thus, Janko has a multi-scale Kbd layout and the advantage is overwhelming.
Quote:
Anyway, F# major is a particularly easy scale to play, much easier than C major, because it makes you use the appropriate fingering intuitively. In C major you have to force yourself consciously to make the thumb changes in the right sequence (not that it matters if you don't, but if you don't you get into bad habits which will catch you in other keys).
For some weird reason the black key piano keys made me develop a psychological aversion... Its black keys are only 1cm wide and it takes ages to get my brains programmed to that narrow error margin;
Quote:
This is a job for the fingers, not the brain!
Well, our fingers are controlled by our brain; not the other way around!
Quote:
If you're talking about relative error margin (where one hand has to play several notes together, and if one finger is in exactly the right place, the other(s) might not be), then you can train your hands so that the fingers involved are the right distance apart (which will be a whole multiple of 1.37cm), but even with Janko you should really do that anyway, and aim to hit each key in the middle if possible.
Janko offers at least a bit more tolerance than 1cm.
Quote:
If you're talking about absolute error margin, for long distance leaps, then you must agree that the black keys are of immense help because the hand can feel its place before it plays.
Watching at pianist's hand movements: their hand movements are that fast, that there just isn't time for 'feel its place before it playing the key". That means, they already trained to synchronize their brains and hearing with their their hands movements to the exact distances (of 1cm error margin) over the whole keyboard! Actually, after playing the Kbd a while it even happens to me beginner, for ...even a blind chuck finds occasionally a grain!

KS is being taught at the conservatory of music in Holland. That what I heard. Here for instance is a qualified Klavarskribo teacher: http://www.blogger.com/profile/13772642971086708157%20offering%20Klavarskribo%20lessons.


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