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Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard #2817471
02/19/19 03:27 PM
02/19/19 03:27 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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I need someone to build a prototype of this keyboard. This could be a garage prototype or if someone knows a company that could create one in China etc. Could be acoustic or digital, but I would be inclined toward something small and easy to transport. Could also be acoustic non-piano (like using metal chimes).

Here is the text of my provisional patent application. I had a patent attorney do a search for this and he found no patents for this idea; if anyone knows otherwise please inform me.
(In the image, the rear part of the white keys seems shorter than the front part, but I actually intend for them to be the same length, again to emphasize the string-like, one-dimensionality that can be perceived horizontally midway up the black keys.)

Quickest summary: Imagine 88 computer space bars lined up next to each other and the piano’s tones assigned to them all in the usual chromatic way. Then imagine shaping them more like the black and white keys of a heritage keyboard (see image; black keys raised). These are not levers and so that is why I’m calling it the Leverless Keyboard.

——- Current Art ——-
- Both the chromatic equality of the twelve tonalities in standard equal temperament, and the one-dimensional nature of music (as it can be for example understood on successive frets of a single string of a guitar) are difficult to perceive and employ in association with a standard keyboard. Students usually begin by using the heptatonic keys (“the white keys”, pressed most easily in their front region, and also often viewed as having their psychological center of gravity in that region), and so as they progress and add notes from the pentatonic keys (“the black keys”, perceived as having their center of gravity farther toward the rear), a perception is created combining vertical (front-rear, longitudinal) and horizontal (left-right, latitudinal) elements. They get a zig-zag understanding, thinking of for example a jump rising in pitch from F-sharp to C as a diagonal move to the right and away from the back of the instrument. Transposition of a passage, which helps to understand the chromatic equality of the twelve tonalities in standard equal temperament, involves reassigning the relationships in awkward ways that are dependent on the contingencies of the standard keyboard layout. For example the relationship between F-sharp and C (a tritone), transposed a semitone higher, becomes a diagonal movement to the right and toward the back of the instrument, rather than away from it (G to C-sharp). Transposed higher by an interval of a fourth, the tritone becomes purely a lateral movement (B to F) with no vertical component. In a one-dimensional understanding as for example on a single string of a guitar, the tritone can be grasped much more intuitively because in every case it is simply a movement of six frets.
- Piano teachers sometimes direct students to focus on the rear portion of the keyboard, where white (the heptatonic scale) and black (pentatonic scale) share space and their similar width offers some isomorphism. When this region is thought of along the lateral axis, it helps to see musical sequences one-dimensionally. However this offers only limited help and initial impressions psychologically anchoring the heptatonic keys in the front region of the instrument can be extremely difficult to erase or modify.
——- Idea For Patent ——-
- The invention of extension, duplication or representation of the heptatonic keys in an additional row behind the pentatonic keys allows pianists to more easily shift the psychological center of gravity for the keyboard to the area where pentatonic and heptatonic keys share space and are more isomorphic, thus assisting in gaining and applying understanding of the chromatic equality of the twelve tonalities in standard equal temperament, and in gaining and applying understanding of the one-dimensional nature of music.
. The invention of leverless long buttons, in which both the front and rear sections of the heptatonic and pentatonic keys depress in concert regardless of the location of the pressing (as with a space bar on a computer keyboard), further assists in shifting the psychological center of gravity to the shared region and in the aforementioned musical understandings and applications.
——- Charles Lang, 2/8/19, Guerneville, California

[Linked Image]


charlessamuellang.com
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Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2817546
02/19/19 05:47 PM
02/19/19 05:47 PM
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Chernobieff Piano Offline
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Interesting idea, however the keys are levers for a reason of function. For example, in the piano the wippen has to be lifted. I was going to suggest build a clavichord because it's light weight and you could demonstrate your keyboard and have a range of dynamics, but again, the tangent has to be lifted. My gut feeling on this is when you leave the lever system you go into a spring based system, and those feel very odd to a performer.
Musically, i think the most successful deviation from the standard keyboard would be the Janko keyboard.
-chris


Maker of Fine Piano Soundboards
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Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2817602
02/19/19 07:09 PM
02/19/19 07:09 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Interesting idea, however the keys are levers for a reason of function. For example, in the piano the wippen has to be lifted. I was going to suggest build a clavichord because it's light weight and you could demonstrate your keyboard and have a range of dynamics, but again, the tangent has to be lifted. My gut feeling on this is when you leave the lever system you go into a spring based system, and those feel very odd to a performer.
Musically, i think the most successful deviation from the standard keyboard would be the Janko keyboard.
-chris


Of course they are levers for a reason of function. The idea is that there are didactic and artistic reasons for them *not* to be levers.

I like your idea of a clavichord design. A linkage could be attached beneath the keys to lift the tangents. (This part could utilize levers, as the importance of the leverless aspect is only with the parts that directly interface with the player.)

Janko does not present the notes one-dimensionally, which is a real virtue of for example a guitar string. Janko has had over a hundred years and few people even know of it — not much of a success. I have my sights set higher — I could imagine this under every Christmas tree in a few years; it has helped my playing ability so much, even without having a prototype.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2817619
02/19/19 07:33 PM
02/19/19 07:33 PM
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Scotland
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David Boyce Offline
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There's always the Seaboard...
https://roli.com/products/seaboard/

Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2817622
02/19/19 07:42 PM
02/19/19 07:42 PM
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Or you could put the tangents of a clavichord under the key, and have them press down on the strings.


Semipro Tech
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2850870
05/21/19 07:38 PM
05/21/19 07:38 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Another aspect of this idea is to put the fulcrum, hinge, of the levers far back behind the keys. In this case the keyboard is not actually leverless, but the levering action of all the keys is changed so that the black and white keys move more similarly with one another.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2851000
05/22/19 07:28 AM
05/22/19 07:28 AM
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UnrightTooner Offline
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I am presently employed as an Electrical Designer, but also do some mechanical designing. What you are asking the keys to do is pretty tough. To put pressure on the end of something and have both ends move as if the pressure was equally distributed is probably impossible. But if the difference cannot be noticed, then it would be inconsequential. Sure hope they don't ask me to design something like that!

My first thought would be to start with some kind of "scissors" arrangement and then go from there.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2851061
05/22/19 10:20 AM
05/22/19 10:20 AM
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Old Hangtown California
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Guerneville eh? I spent many summers in Rio Nido
Get flooded out this year?
Seems that if you want wood key sticks it would take 4 front rails to support and guide their travel but they would likely not feel or move like computer space bars.
The layout and design of the keysticks would be similar to a standard key set and cut out on a bandsaw with added mortise on the sharp blocks.
But then there would be no fulcrum so you would need to figure how to support them.
Maybe the computer space bar is the answer.
Curious - is this key set just for touch development or is it intended to make some sound??


RPT
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Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: Gene Nelson] #2851274
05/22/19 09:39 PM
05/22/19 09:39 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Guerneville eh? I spent many summers in Rio Nido
Get flooded out this year?
Seems that if you want wood key sticks it would take 4 front rails to support and guide their travel but they would likely not feel or move like computer space bars.
The layout and design of the keysticks would be similar to a standard key set and cut out on a bandsaw with added mortise on the sharp blocks.
But then there would be no fulcrum so you would need to figure how to support them.
Maybe the computer space bar is the answer.
Curious - is this key set just for touch development or is it intended to make some sound??


There was major flooding this year. One resort I’m associated with was flooded 13 feet or more. I rode a kayak right along the roof.

It is intended to make sound if possible. I hadn’t thought of making it just for touch development; that would be better than nothing.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: UnrightTooner] #2851277
05/22/19 09:45 PM
05/22/19 09:45 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I am presently employed as an Electrical Designer, but also do some mechanical designing. What you are asking the keys to do is pretty tough. To put pressure on the end of something and have both ends move as if the pressure was equally distributed is probably impossible. But if the difference cannot be noticed, then it would be inconsequential. Sure hope they don't ask me to design something like that!

My first thought would be to start with some kind of "scissors" arrangement and then go from there.


Yes, a “scissors” could maybe do it; another option is like the sway bar on auto suspension. Another idea I’ve had, if I do a complete self-built thing, would be to put a board or frame extending directly downward from each key, with rollers and a track or side panels to roll on. (Imagine a chest of drawers flipped on its back, each key being like a drawer.)


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: UnrightTooner] #2851324
05/23/19 03:42 AM
05/23/19 03:42 AM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I am presently employed as an Electrical Designer, but also do some mechanical designing.


Hook me up — could you or anyone you know bid this job?
I could then get some crowdfunding going.
My assumption has been that the main marketable item should be built much like most electronic keyboards, with injection molded keys etc.

There’s a guy who is a regular at the bar where I play piano who works at IBM, so I’m thinking of asking him about pitching it to them — they know how to make space bars, that’s for sure. LOL.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2851392
05/23/19 08:53 AM
05/23/19 08:53 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,974
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
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Sorry, I work in a heavy industry. Not my line and don't know anybody. But you will surely want this made from plastic to avoid binding with humidity changes. Here's an interesting patent I found when googling "Parallel Motion Devices". Had to laugh when I saw what it is for. No spoilers, folks. You'll have to follow the link (No Rickroll either):

https://patents.google.com/patent/US4387623


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2851780
05/24/19 12:22 PM
05/24/19 12:22 PM
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Ed Sutton Offline
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Your learners will eventually have to play on the pianos that are already here.
You could accomplish your pedagogical purposes by cutting off the naturals at the front of the accidentals, or extending the accidentals to the front of the keyboard. Or you could just cover the fronts of the naturals with a strip of wood or plastic and eventually return the piano to its original condition.
(This might be something you could patent and sell as a learning device!)

You will still have the architectural ups and downs between naturals and accidentals, which are perhaps the greater navigational challenge.

Probably the best ways to learn to deal with the inherent biases of the keyboard involve blindfold practice to develop proprioceptional "images" of the relations between sound and feel of the keyboard and a loving study of the history of the keyboard and its harmonic development.

The guitar fretboard has its own "cognitive" dissonance since the length of intervals shortens as you go up the fretboard.

In matters like this we face the principle that "The perfect is enemy of the good."
Why do you suppose the Janko keyboard never achieved acceptance?


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: Ed Sutton] #2852379
05/26/19 12:57 PM
05/26/19 12:57 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
Your learners will eventually have to play on the pianos that are already here.


They might want to but they might not want to. I am in effect the first to use my keyboard to learn, even though I have used it only mentally due to not having a prototype. I have largely managed the process of returning to levered keyboards but it has been quite a challenge. Due to the levers I find that the only place where the twelve tones are geometrically close to being in balance is the area right at the front of the sharps. But even that focus has had to be balanced with other mental tools, in a long process, in order to make sense of the existing keyboards.

Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
You could accomplish your pedagogical purposes by cutting off the naturals at the front of the accidentals, or extending the accidentals to the front of the keyboard. Or you could just cover the fronts of the naturals with a strip of wood or plastic and eventually return the piano to its original condition.
(This might be something you could patent and sell as a learning device!)


That is good thinking; I have used all these methods mentally. However it is a piecemeal approach to working with a flawed device that we don’t have to live with forever. Cutting off the naturals or covering them leaves fingering problems that prevent musical seriousness, so at best this is a learning exercise but with extremely limited effectiveness. Also, the levers are still there. For one thing, on a standard piano the fulcra of the sharps and flats are different. But even on a keyboard where the fulcra are the same, the tops of the sharps have different geometrical relationships to the hinges and move differently from the naturals (they move forward in addition to downward).

Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
You will still have the architectural ups and downs between naturals and accidentals, which are perhaps the greater navigational challenge.


I disagree that they are perhaps the greater navigational challenge, but I do think that different people come to the keyboard with different assumptions and some will find this or that aspect to be more difficult. The greatest challenge is to see the keyboard as one row of keys and not two rows of keys.

Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
Probably the best ways to learn to deal with the inherent biases of the keyboard involve blindfold practice to develop proprioceptional "images" of the relations between sound and feel of the keyboard and a loving study of the history of the keyboard and its harmonic development.


Sigh. That is true with the traditional keyboard as well as my invention; the idea is that my invention makes this process hugely easier. And my invention is part of the history of the keyboard and it’s harmonic development.

Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
The guitar fretboard has its own "cognitive" dissonance since the length of intervals shortens as you go up the fretboard.


Yes. That is one of the reasons why my invention holds the promise of winning back many of the students and market in music that has gone to guitars.

Originally Posted by Ed Sutton

In matters like this we face the principle that "The perfect is enemy of the good."
Why do you suppose the Janko keyboard never achieved acceptance?


The heritage keyboard is not good, it is an unmitigated disaster. Musical competence has declined and most of the population finds music totally baffling and is dead to the meanings that framed the story of the Western world.

The Janko keyboard has no portion that is the twelve tone scale, while mine has that in the middle. Also, to the broader audience it looks daunting, while mine is immediately recognizable as being similar to a piano.

What I think happens is that the most advanced keyboard players all learned the hardest proprioceptional lessons when they were toddlers, or some who began a little later simply bring linear assumptions about music with them, that they got for whatever reason, and so for both groups these things are maybe viewed as obvious. But I’m certain that my own beginnings of being very baffled by the two rows of keys is extremely widespread.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2852380
05/26/19 01:01 PM
05/26/19 01:01 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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The interviews of baffled people in this ad for Dodeka serve actually as an ad for my invention (my invention is far superior to Dodeka.



charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2852398
05/26/19 02:03 PM
05/26/19 02:03 PM
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Try playing the conclusion of Chopin's Larghetto (from the Second Piano Concerto) and you'll see why the white and black keys are shaped and located as they are. There is also the fact that real (not synthesized) music does not use absolutely equal temperament, so Bb minor, for example, should give you different intervals than C major. Why do you think Beethoven went to the trouble of writing in F# major? Just to make it hard for students? Getting up on the black keys sounds different.
The Janko keyboard has always struck me as insane. You have to worry about where your hands are in two dimensions, not one. If there were, say, two octaves between the keyboards, and they were the usual shape and size, it might be useful in playing glissandos across the entire range of the instrument.
I have myself cut a keyboard out of plywood in one afternoon. If you're not good with tools, don't try it at home. A top-action clavichord seems easy to make; I wonder why they're not made that way?

Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2852410
05/26/19 02:31 PM
05/26/19 02:31 PM
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edferris Offline
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Wait! Isn't that the piano bench cover from the Online Store, minus the roses? You say it's PATENTED?

Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: edferris] #2852460
05/26/19 05:03 PM
05/26/19 05:03 PM
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charleslang Offline OP
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Originally Posted by edferris
Try playing the conclusion of Chopin's Larghetto (from the Second Piano Concerto) and you'll see why the white and black keys are shaped and located as they are.


The white and black keys are shaped and located as they are for historical reasons of the development of keyboards hundreds of years before Chopin was born.

Originally Posted by edharris
There is also the fact that real (not synthesized) music does not use absolutely equal temperament, so Bb minor, for example, should give you different intervals than C major.


Absolutely equal temperament is the standard for tuning pianos.

Bb minor has a different sequence of intervals from C major because it is a minor tonality rather than major. The tonality also has its tonic a whole step lower.

Originally Posted by edharris
Why do you think Beethoven went to the trouble of writing in F# major? Just to make it hard for students? Getting up on the black keys sounds different.


The reason Beethoven wrote up there is probably the same reason Liberace played Christmas tunes up there: that part of the keyboard presents all tones in one line, while in whiter key signatures you are playing more in an area where only seven of the twelve tones are even present.

Saying that the black keys sound different is like saying that people who live in houses with street numbers divisible by three are different.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2852713
05/27/19 11:45 AM
05/27/19 11:45 AM
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You can read about Janko and other innovators in Alfred Dolge's 1915 book:
https://archive.org/details/pianosandtheirm00dolggoog/page/n10
You will note that he uses much the same arguments that you do.
I tune pianos to eighth-comma meantone, unless the performer tells me not to. Sure, the tuning device is set to equal temperament, but you have to stretch the octaves and the device doesn't work in the extreme registers anyway.
Were the classical pianists playing equal temperament? I say not, because they did write in different keys and obtained the effects of differing intervals. I don't think that was completely accidental (joke).

Re: Prototype building? For patent pending keyboard [Re: charleslang] #2852728
05/27/19 12:11 PM
05/27/19 12:11 PM
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Have you tried mocking up this keyboard on a touchpad?


Semipro Tech
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