Making connections

In my almost-daily scouring of the Web for Klavarskribo-related information (in English, as I don’t yet speak Dutch), I came across a thread on the Cakewalk forums where Johannes Drinda was proposing a Klavar-like notation for MIDI editing. (I’m not a Cakewalk user, so I don’t really know the context.) Anyway, I admired this whistling philosopher’s persistence and enthusiasm, so I emailed him.

In his response, he pointed me to the Janko keyboard design. Quoting him (with his permission): “What a shame, that true revolutionary notions, such as Klavarskribo and Janko keyboard pattern have almost vanished. They are indeed invaluable tools to create a system, which offers/ enables any musically minded (hobby/ home) musician to play MIDI instruments the easiest way.” So he shares my passion to reduce the cognitive overhead that’s built into conventional notation (and/or instruments). He also has created instructions for a DIY Janko keyboard overlay project (PDF file), which I found quite impressive.

That led me to some YouTube videos about the Chromatone, which is based on the Janko keyboard. Pretty interesting stuff. If nothing else, it helps situate my understanding of the traditional piano keyboard. But I’m keeping my mind open to what role it might play in my investigations. I’m also keeping an eye on what Thumtronics is doing, and I subscribed to its founder’s blog, which has a bunch of fascinating reading.

If you have experience with Klavarskribo or are particularly interested in it, please contact me. I’m hoping to get feedback once I’m able to get an initial release of this game out, and more ideas and suggestions in the meantime.


  1. Steve Wilson said,

    January 4, 2008 @ 9:12 am

    Evan, I think you should check this out.
    feel free to email me.

  2. Jim said,

    May 11, 2008 @ 5:46 am

    Klavar notation is not an ideal solution since there still 12 keys written differently, and it is much more difficult to write out music than to read it. It is also incompatible with the Janko keyboard anyway since it is base on the traditional layout. The only complete and truly ideal system is Bilinear music notation, which I use as a short-hand notation. I’ve put the link to the website.

    The system also includes a bilinear (6-6) keyboard, but Janko’s design is probably better.

  3. Johannes K. Drinda said,

    February 27, 2011 @ 6:56 am

    I noticed that all Kbd layout improvements have been done by equalizing the keyboard layout. That’s why my idea is to … yes, “equalizing the existing (zebra) piano keyboard layout”. That saves us to relearn the a new layout (!!)
    Please contact me for more suggestions on that… jjj from Chile

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