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Jun 19, 2007


Shadrach Z

"Step 1: Lay out the keys in one row all equally spaced by semi-tones, like this, and you have the layout of a harp's strings."

Can I call you up on that? There aren't really any widespread instruments that have all the strings arranged like that where you actually play the strings directly. A harp has only 7 notes per octave, with either a complex mechanical pedal system or little brass levers to get the sharps and flats (although you do - rarely - get cross-strung harps with a Janko layout, which means you can play chromatic music really easily, at the expense of no longer being able to do a diatonic scale glissando - a harsh trade-off for a harpist to decide on).

I also note that you call C#major one of the hardest scales to play, and I am reminded of the Indian harmonium, a Western instrument which has been adapted to a musical culture that traditionally favoured a home key near enough what we call C#, and therefore, unless you have one with a clever but clunky and fragile mechanism that shifts the entire keyboard sideways to transpose, you're probably going to be playing in C# a lot of the time. Now there's an instrument that is crying out for a Janko version to become available.

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