A Chromatic Keyboard From the Y2K Era | Fess' Find

This week's Fess Find delves into the Wholetone Revolution Janko Keyboard—an instrument that was designed to revolutionize the way musicians play and think about music. Built around a concept created by Paul von Jankó in 1882, it features rows of hexagons in an isomorphic layout that allows for consistent fingering across different pitches and keys.

Wholetone Revolution Chromatic Janko Keyboard

What sets this keyboard apart from traditional keyboards is that chords and scales are played through shapes and patterns as opposed to intervals. The consistent fingering across all keys allows for transposing effortlessly, and the symmetrical arrangement of notes improves music comprehension and facilitates mastery of the basics. For classical players, it opens up a world of pieces that previously required larger hands to play, and enables the execution of awkward passages with fluidity and ease.

Aside from its design, the instrument boasts myriad features that make it versatile and flexible for artists of all genres. It contains the same synth engine as the Korg N5, offering 64 note polyphony, 32-part multitimbrality, and four-part multi-effects processors. It also features internal ROM samples, portamento, aftertouch, and a built-in arpeggiator, among other functions. The keyboard includes MIDI in, out, and thru ports, allowing for seamless control of other MIDI-compatible instruments.

This is a pretty rare find, and priced pretty fairly from Switched On Music Electronics, a full service shop in Austin, Texas that stocks used and vintage electronic instruments.

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