Why are we still playing traditional piano keyboards??
#31
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
  #31
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Originally Posted by KevBonds View Post
Who gives a shit about whether an instrument is hard to play or whether so and so can 'play' an instrument? All that matters is that a song can be made. No one cares if some dude is shreddin licks like Eddie-except maybe other guitar players. The ultimate goal is to get the performance into a song.
That sounds sort of obvious, but few people ever look at the other side of that equation. The problem is, the world isn't waiting for more songs. There is already a massive glut of music being made, due to digital tools that allow people to edit every aspect of their 'performances', and due to the ever dropping price of pure digital environments. It's destroying the value of music. Anything that can be done by many people has less value, because it's only rarity that gives it value.

When it was more about having to actually have the skills to play the music (and even if you used the, vastly less powerful, tools of the studio to help you out, you still generally had to get up and play it), that meant that it was more likely to be rarer, and therefore more valuable. People looked up to musicians who were good musicians (not necessarily 'shredders', just good musicians could perform their music well.)

Now, there's so much music out there, and it's being made for so much less effort and sacrifice, that the value of it is dropping rapidly. And the more people become convinced that it's all basically made with little effort, the easier it is to devalue it and steal it.

Now, you can argue that everyone has the right to make music for their own enjoyment if they want, and that's true. And it's always been true before the internet and DAWs. People made music at home, or at the local coffee shop on open mic night. It didn't dilute the value of those folks who are really trying to do it for real. Now everyone can have delusions of stardom, putting up their very heavily edited music, all over the net. It's created massive over-supply, and it does dilute the value of those really trying to do it as a profession.

And, BTW, I'm not one of those people trying to do it for real, so I'm not just supporting my own position here. I'm arguing for what's best for music as a whole, and having millions more people putting out songs isn't really that. As I've said elsewhere, and I don't mean to be ugly about it, what the digital tools available today are mostly doing is serving the egos of the people putting up music that makes them seem vastly more competent than they really are, not the art of music.

If everyone was putting up honest reflections of their actual talent, things would be a lot different.
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Scoox
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#32
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
  #32
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Originally Posted by KevBonds View Post
Who gives a shit about whether an instrument is hard to play or whether so and so can 'play' an instrument? All that matters is that a song can be made. No one cares if some dude is shreddin licks like Eddie-except maybe other guitar players. The ultimate goal is to get the performance into a song. If someone invents an instrument that allows easier music creation, good for him or her. Jordan Rudess uses one of these: The AXiS-64 pro MIDI controller
I like to record MIDI by playing on my keyboard, not by drawing rectangles on the screen with the mouse. Either way music can be made, but the results are vastly different. Therefore being able to play a MIDI controller--of any type--fluently is quite important.
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#33
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
  #33
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Originally Posted by dodittydada View Post
Ahh, yeah lets reinvent the wheel.

I agree, and while not a shot at the OP, other threads I read with increasing frequency here are becoming a concern. You know, stuff like, I want to see colours when I mix, tracks are old the traditional mixer is whack, I want to mix by dancing round the room with my tongue hanging out. I want a instant everything button in my DAW. I have no concept of learning anything or REWARD FOR EFFORT. I just want shit done in the fastest most easy fashion possible.
Well ergonomics is one thing, dumbing stuff down is another. An overly simplified user interface tends to be less flexible e.g. Studio One (simplified) vs REAPER (super flexible).

Reducing the number of clicks is usually a good thing, as long as the options are still there. A good GUI designer will always take this into account.
#34
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
  #34
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I find it odd that some of you take this so personally.
I don't think that any of us take it personally. As far as I'm aware, none of us actually designed the traditional keyboard layout…

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I don't see how anybody could disagree that easier is better.
Easier is easier, but it's not necessarily better.
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#35
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
I don't see how anybody could disagree that easier is better.
You have to understand that "easier" for YOU - an admitted non-player- to 'get around' and do your simple things is not the same as "easier" for a professional pianist or organist to get to all the notes and chords he may need and understand their relationship to each other.
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#36
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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#37
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
  #37
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Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
To my mind the piano is no more than a bunch of strings of varying thickness and widths, and a bunch of hammers to hit them. If we ignore the keyboard section, all pianos sound the same. To put it another way, a black Janko piano and a pink traditional piano sound exactly the same.
All pianos sound like a piano but not all pianos sound the same!!

Every piano is an unique instrument, and no two pianos sound or play like another; freshly tuned or not.
Depending on your taste and wallet, you can buy a Bosendorfer, a Bechstein,
a Fazioli, a Steingraeber, among others. Yamahas are a favorite in Pop music
for their bright, lively sound.
They all give the piano player different ways to control the tone due to the touch-sensitive keys. There is the Ravenscroft piano. Only a few are built yearly and they will set you back from $230.000 upwards to +$400.000.

I don't know why I'm telling you all this 'cause I know you are an intelligent young man, learning Mandarin and all, BUT I must reaffirm that all pianos are NOT created equal!! They all sound like a piano; they have the same timbre.
Even a poor sounding piano can have a deeper fuller tone just by changing the hammers, putting new strings, adjusting the action, and (or) tuning to a temperament other than ET.

Yes, it is good that there are other types of keys to choose from and that they may facilitate the initial ability to play BUT one must be aware that in the end, this will most likely augment the time to master a conventional keys and be looked as a novelty if not a gimmick.

Pianists do not have to look at the keys, they know the correct distances to play the intended notes; they know where the notes are.

Who invented this "traditional" keyboard nobody knows.
"The Harpsichord was already around by the 14th Century and that was modeled after a keyed version of the psaltery - a small harp with steel strings and a soundboard circa 1300s".

Consistency is good. PEACE.
#38
22nd July 2013
Old 22nd July 2013
  #38
#39
22nd July 2013
Old 22nd July 2013
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TREMORS View Post
Didnt Irving Berlin play only the black keys?

Sent from my SPH-D710BST
I believe he was untrained and could only play in the key of F# which would most definitely have him playing mostly on black keys.
#40
22nd July 2013
Old 22nd July 2013
  #40
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#41
23rd July 2013
Old 23rd July 2013
  #41
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the keyboard can't get ANY easier
learn theory and how music in general works and apply it to the keyboard.
so much laziness now and days it's appalling
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#42
23rd July 2013
Old 23rd July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
I believe he was untrained and could only play in the key of F# which would most definitely have him playing mostly on black keys.
Yes thats correct. He used a piano that had some kind of mechanical lever he could hit with his foot that would shift the hammers to transpose so he could play in other keys. But he knew only F# fingerings.

Sent from my SPH-D710BST
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Scoox
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#43
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
  #43
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Originally Posted by Ambience View Post
the keyboard can't get ANY easier
learn theory and how music in general works and apply it to the keyboard.
so much laziness now and days it's appalling
Not everybody has time to practise.
#44
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
Not everybody has time to practise.
Then not everybody is cut out to be a good musician. Or footballer. Or baseball player. Or actor. Or <insert just about anything here>.

The people who don't have "time to practise" either need to find something where they have an innate talent that doesn't require much in the way of practise or they need to sort out their priorities so that they can find the time to practise something (if it's important enough to them) or, failing all that, they just need to GTFO of the way of all the folks who do at least make the effort to understand what they're doing and what it takes to be good at it.

I don't have the time to practise playing snooker. Or archery. Or rally driving. Or countless other things. So I don't do them. And I accept that, if I want to do them in the future and make a halfway decent job of it, it will take some form of commitment in terms of time and a bit of effort on my part. I don't start looking for a simpler snooker table, a bigger target or a rally car that I can drive by sitting on my sofa and farting about with an Xbox controller.

Sorry, I seem to sound a bit curmudgeonly there, but the phrase "Not everybody has time to practise" seems to me to show something of a lack of understanding of the nature of life and, indeed, of time itself.
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#45
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
Then not everybody is cut out to be a good musician. Or footballer. Or baseball player. Or actor. Or <insert just about anything here>.

The people who don't have "time to practise" either need to find something where they have an innate talent that doesn't require much in the way of practise or they need to sort out their priorities so that they can find the time to practise something (if it's important enough to them) or, failing all that, they just need to GTFO of the way of all the folks who do at least make the effort to understand what they're doing and what it takes to be good at it.

I don't have the time to practise playing snooker. Or archery. Or rally driving. Or countless other things. So I don't do them. And I accept that, if I want to do them in the future and make a halfway decent job of it, it will take some form of commitment in terms of time and a bit of effort on my part. I don't start looking for a simpler snooker table, a bigger target or a rally car that I can drive by sitting on my sofa and farting about with an Xbox controller.

Sorry, I seem to sound a bit curmudgeonly there, but the phrase "Not everybody has time to practise" seems to me to show something of a lack of understanding of the nature of life and, indeed, of time itself.

Well said adrianww!!!

It was a pleasure to read your post/answer/advise.



-Herr Weiss
#46
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
Not everybody has time to practise.
well then its TIME to get a new hobby.

There's actually chord generator plugins for lazy people like you btw.

i wish i would have thought of making those plugins first, i'd be RICH !
#47
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
  #47
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#48
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
Not everybody has time to practise.
wow! thread-ender!

this sort of puts your evaluation of the traditional keyboard vs alternative keyboards into perspective, doesn't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post

The people who don't have "time to practise" either need to find something where they have an innate talent that doesn't require much in the way of practise
I have to say that all of the people who I consider to have "innate" God-Given Talent spend more time practicing that the ones who were not 'born with it'. In fact I would go so far as to say the greatest of all God-Given Talents is the Talent to be Motivated to Practice.

Quote:
Sorry, I seem to sound a bit curmudgeonly there, but the phrase "Not everybody has time to practise" seems to me to show something of a lack of understanding of the nature of life and, indeed, of time itself.
Amen
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#49
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Not everybody has time to practise.
The nice thing about listening to music is that it requires no practice whatsoever. Hell, I've practiced a great deal and I still enjoy listening to music!

Lately, though, I've had a harder time finding time to practice...it never occured to me that finding a simpler instrument was the obvious solution.
#50
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
Then not everybody is cut out to be a good musician. Or footballer. Or baseball player. Or actor. Or <insert just about anything here>.

The people who don't have "time to practise" either need to find something where they have an innate talent that doesn't require much in the way of practise or they need to sort out their priorities so that they can find the time to practise something (if it's important enough to them) or, failing all that, they just need to GTFO of the way of all the folks who do at least make the effort to understand what they're doing and what it takes to be good at it.

I don't have the time to practise playing snooker. Or archery. Or rally driving. Or countless other things. So I don't do them. And I accept that, if I want to do them in the future and make a halfway decent job of it, it will take some form of commitment in terms of time and a bit of effort on my part. I don't start looking for a simpler snooker table, a bigger target or a rally car that I can drive by sitting on my sofa and farting about with an Xbox controller.

Sorry, I seem to sound a bit curmudgeonly there, but the phrase "Not everybody has time to practise" seems to me to show something of a lack of understanding of the nature of life and, indeed, of time itself.
Exceptionally well said.
This attitude is becoming more and more prevalent around here. I want to do all this stuff without learning shit, and I want it now. If someone invented a instant mix plug in, or an instant hit song plug in, they would make a million off this site and have these guys wetting their panties. Its really quite pathetic. LEARN production, LEARN enough theory to write! Its not THAT hard and you WILL get a very strange sensation you may not have felt before. Its called reward for effort in the from of self satisfaction. Do try it. It wont hurt. This generation has me f__d, and Im only 40.
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#51
24th July 2013
Old 24th July 2013
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All you people saying 'the piano is the best possible design' are full of it, and need to learn about Path Dependence. I do play piano - not terribly well, but enough to appreciate what's good about it, and more importantly to understand the theoretical basis of the keyboard layout.

It is very far from being optimal. Reach for your keyboard and sweep your finger up or down the white keys for a nice glissando. Now do it in minor...oh wait, you can't. The layout pushes you to work in particular keys by default, and transposing to other keys is less than convenient because of the different sizes of the white and black keys. I try to play scales and arpeggios every day just to keep my hands limber and I still tend to switch back to the same starting points for musical ideas because there are only so many hours in the day for practice. I would love to hear some of the posters in this forum tell Irving Berlin that he was No Good for using a transposing piano to compose his tunes.

The thing is, you think it's the easiest instrument largely because that's where you learned your theory - no more, no less. The hexagonal lattice harmonic table used on the Axis controllers is far better as a performance tool for tonal music, since it is invariant with respect to chord shapes and so on. The piano roll is a huge winner in computer sequencing because it doesn't discriminate between keys, all slots are the same size. An even more optimal arrangement might be a cylindrical piano in which octaves are actually stacked vertically.

Just as there are alternative approaches to interfacing with music, there are also alternatives to the standard equal-tempered tuning approach. As someone that prefers modal to tonal music, I'm increasingly dissatisfied with the tuning compromises necessitated by equal temperment and prefer the sound of just intonation, which has a firmer basis in acoustic theory than ET does.
#52
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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We are all aware that the piano's design is not perfect, even though our ancestors did spend hundreds of years trying to make it so.
As the piano is a fixed pitch instrument, a temperament had to be created so we could play in all keys and still sound good.
Equal Temperament is a compromise of a compromise of a compromise...................from Just Intonation----the only non-compromised, as it is not fixed; besides having natural(pure) harmonics.

I enjoy playing in Db major 'cause it feels very natural under my fingers, can't say the same about the other keys, sigh. Glad I don't play a 5 keyboard organ with all them buttons plus those Foot pedals under my feet; THAT is hard.

There are many other temperaments besides ET and the discussions of which one is the best is endless.

-Herr Weiss

Last edited by Herr Weiss; 25th July 2013 at 02:51 AM.. Reason: fixing stuff
#53
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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There are people on the first page of this thread insisting that it is 'perfect' and it is to them that my remarks are addressed.
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#54
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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I do play other instruments though which also need practising. However, pushing keys on a MIDI keyboard happens to be the most efficient way to record MIDI, so it helps being able to play it, which I can do only moderately.

I am actually considering buying an Axis controller for composing. I don't intend to become a concert pianist, but I do enjoy producing, and any musical idea I have today shouldn't have to wait 1-2 years while I learn piano.
#55
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
  #55
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Well there are different methods of inputting midi.. you can use your mouse, if you come from a horns background there are flute/sax/trumpet midi controllers, if you have a pianist/keyboard background you can use well just that, the keyboard which seems so "wrong" to some of you here. Or some sliding pressure pad thingy and other more stick like instruments.
And well I'm pretty sure you can rig up any panel of knobs and assign them the notes you want so you can make your own keyboard setup or create a software interface for touch screen.

as I said on the previous page, those other designs are cool but the most compact and easy to use for a large segment of western style music is the traditional keyboard which kinda was key in the evolution and development of this music.
Nobody says you have to use it, plenty of other options but the tempered keyed instruments bring to music just what they are which is just fine.
So many other instruments out there that vary from this, vocals, flutes, brass & woodwind, bowed instruments, plucked instruments, electronic instruments.. the development is continuous and endless.
It just so happens the traditional keyboard is still there as it is widespread, a standard and many people know how to use it.
#56
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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When you practice long enough black keys start to give you incredibly good "feel", in combination with white keys. In the beginning of my piano journey I too was little uncomfortable playing anything other than in C major/a minor key. Now my favourites are Eb major/c minor and Ab major/f minor. It just feels more comfortable, my scales are faster and more precise.
#57
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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Quote:
There are people on the first page of this thread insisting that it is 'perfect' and it is to them that my remarks are addressed.
I don't recall anyone saying that the traditional keyboard layout is "perfect", but rather that the alternative keyboards just aren't "better". They may have some advantages, but they have disadvantages as well.
#58
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
I don't recall anyone saying that the traditional keyboard layout is "perfect", but rather that the alternative keyboards just aren't "better". They may have some advantages, but they have disadvantages as well.
Well, I'll admit that I said that I think it's something of a masterpiece of simplicity and functional design - and I still think that's true although I didn't go as far as calling it perfect (and wouldn't). I do think that someone said it was perfectly laid out (or words to that effect).

When it comes to piano/organ/harpsichord/etc. the keyboard layout as we know it probably occupies the same space as "democracy" when discussing politics - it may not be perfect, but for its intended purpose, it's better than all the alternatives that have been tried so far.
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#59
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Chagalj View Post
When you practice long enough black keys start to give you incredibly good "feel", in combination with white keys. In the beginning of my piano journey I too was little uncomfortable playing anything other than in C major/a minor key. Now my favourites are Eb major/c minor and Ab major/f minor. It just feels more comfortable, my scales are faster and more precise.
I think that would be true. And I am sure every player has certain preferred scales. But imagine if all scales felt equally comfortable
#60
25th July 2013
Old 25th July 2013
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Thank the Supreme Robotic Overlords, an Intelligent Conversation on Gearslutz! Where have you people been?!?! Muffwiggler, no doubt.....

I find the piano keyboard too easy to play, strange as that may sound, simply because of my training and many years of familiarity. I can easily play different scales with my eyes closed, and enjoy doing so, lets me listen more closely. Not bragging, just emphasizing the arbitrariness of it all. I type this with my index finger on my iPhone. Yes, odd.

I enjoy groove box thingies and instruments and interfaces that are more difficult mainly because they inspire me to think about music in ways that are not habitual with me.

And that's where I agree with ol' AnigBrowl, especially wrt modal music, and other ideas and practices in music that are not conventional to traditional Western music, or the variety of goals and ideas of value inherent in Western music.

Any instrument embodies a series of practices and values, and practicing them trains you to those values. Going deep for many years on one instrument gives you mastery over that tradition, and enriches the context you can draw from, far better than repeating the same, supercilious, 4 on the floor conventionalities across myriad instruments, systems, interfaces, devices.

What I object to is the idea there's too much music being made. There's almost no music being made, merely the ever-more-frenetic, obsessively tweaky repetition of the most shallow and simplistic of stale pop conventions, without the slightest relationship to any kind of understood or mastered musical history.

It's ironic that this dearth of music is happening at the same time the globe can find free access on YouTube to all the vast varieties of different traditional and folk musics in the world. All the resource in the world, and everyone's too utterly lazy to take even one small drink.

Push a button, become a billionaire, have sex with the perfect lifeless doll and then die: that is the culmination of the human species.

So sad.
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