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OSC85
KVRer
25 posts since 1 Oct, 2015

Post Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:13 am

Yes Roger, That's exactly what I meant. The advantage would in more natural chord shapes under the fingers or at least that's how I perceive it to be ...

I can only speak for myself here but with large fingertips some chords can feel really crammed.

In any case, it's just a simply observation and not a critique of the current implementation.

Thanks,

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:22 am

No worries-- I didn't take it as a critique. I don't personally see the merit in it because any regular arrangement will work better for some chords more than others and for one hand better than the other. But the topic is one of interest to many here, I think. I suggest you to draw the arrangement you're thinking of along with an explanation of the benefits, then post it here. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. :)

Here's an interesting discussion of isomorphic keyboards:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isomorphic_keyboard

Gamma-UT
KVRAF
5748 posts since 8 Jun, 2009

Post Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:48 pm

After experimenting with chord shapes and accompaniment in various tunings, I'm gradually settling on using the tritone tuning except for situations where I want to play guitar-like phrases. I find the problem with the fourths tuning is that I have to bunch up my hand to play normal chords and it's difficult to include the thumb. But with tritones, the notes for chord playing are often more spread out, making it easier to use the thumb, especially for piano-style gestures where you rock from thumb to fingers. The shapes also seem more predictable and tend to avoid the situation where you have two fingers side by side which can get quite uncomfortable. But, you wind up with notes on the same row, so it isn't going to work for idiomatic guitar playing.

One thing I'm having difficulty with is working on a good posture for playing it vertically on the chest like a stick rather than on a keyboard stand or desk – working out an angle for both hands seems to be tricky for a conventional bass in left hand arrangement using the standard stick posture. I can see why sticks often use inverted tuning on the bass. Luckily, I'm left-handed anyway so I might just swap hands for bass+melody. It probably wouldn't hurt finger independence when going back to a regular keyboard.

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:53 am

Thanks for the information, gamma. If you'd like to make a video about the benefits of Tritone tuning and post it here, I'm sure others would appreciate your ideas.

OSC85
KVRer
25 posts since 1 Oct, 2015

Post Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:40 am

Gamma's explanation is exactly the same reason why I find the tritone tuning easier to manage and I play guitar so the fourth tuning is much easier for me to visualize at this point but it feels really cramped and it requires more accuracy to get the right notes.

Maybe Roger will consider making a Linnstrument XL surface with larger pads for folks with larger hands ... Although I assume it would be a major overhaul and hassle so probably not feasible.

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:54 am

I actually tried a variety of pad sizes before settling on the 19mm (3/4") spacing, and brought in musicians to get their opinions. Most people found that larger pads made it too difficult to voice chords or play melodic runs because the notes were spread too far apart. 19mm was the sweet spot favored by most, and happens to also be the average spacing of fingers and computer keyboards. Unfortunately an alternate LinnStrument with larger pads would require redesign everything inside, which would be very expensive and would likely not see sufficient sales to justify the expense.

You might try contacting the makers of the Sensel Morph or Joué. Unlike LinnStrument's fixed optimization for its note layout, both of these devices are general-purpose pressure-sensitive multi-touch input surfaces with changeable overlays, though both have a smaller playing surface. Perhaps they would consider making note grid overlays with the large note pads you seek.

OSC85
KVRer
25 posts since 1 Oct, 2015

Post Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:20 am

Thanks Roger,

I will take my chances with the Linnstrument and I'm sure with time I will find optimal voicings.

I guess it is really easy to imagine the benefits but the drawbacks only reveal themselves once you have the physical layout in front of you.

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:24 am

Also, no one note arrangement is best for all musical use cases. In the same way that we live in a world of guitars, violins, saxes, clarinets, drums and more, there is room in the new world for LinnStruments, Seaboards, Continuums, hex keyboards, drum pads, etc.

NothanUmber
KVRist
349 posts since 1 Jul, 2004

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:30 am

Interesting thread!
Tried to understand why the fourth tuning is so popular for guitars (lowest for strings):
a) a fourth is part of many trichords, so with fourth tuning this interval can be played with barré or open strings (to get even more barré and open string chords on six strings the default guitar layout has it's major third step)
b) on a guitar each concurrent note has to be played on a separate string. Additionally positions should be too far apart for comfortable hand positions. With fourth tuning the "worst case" spread for concurrent intervals (<= an octave) is five frets - e.g. for a semitone - which is still good. Fifth tuning is already more difficult to play in low positions with six frets worst case spread. For major third tuning it would even be better with 4 frets (and chromatic scales in just one position),...
c) ...but this comes at the expense of smaller tonal range. Here fourth tuning is better.
d) Open strings on an acoustic instrument slightly start to vibrate when another string is played where an overtone corresponds to the tuning of that string, pronouncing this overtone. With fourths being dominant harmonics (fifth downwards) this leads to a pleasant resonance behavior.

For Linnstrument:
a) almost irrelevant. The only advantage might be that one finger can play a fourth in some chords
b) notes can be played on the same "string", so the worst case interval is now a fourth - either five keys apart or on top of each other. "Frets" are much closer on Linnstrument than on guitar though, so five keys is good
c) still applies. We have eight "strings" though, so less of a problem
d) does not apply

So some reasons to chose fourth tuning don't apply to Linnstrument. But there are also no big reasons NOT to use it - if one is familiar with it already.

If looking for the "perfect" electronic grid-layout instrument tuning I would also lean towards augmented third (tritone) tuning though:
* it makes the 6-6 structure of the two whole tone scales obvious (every even column belongs to the first, every odd column to the second whole tone scale). So the positions of notes in scales easily be deduced from their structure (where are the semi tones).
* Notes repeat after two strings, so (like written in the OP) you can play the same scale or chord in the same position with the same fingering
* the note positions are more natural for the hand, because you can almost always play an interval "to the left" instead of upwards or even to the right (fingers crossed)
* playing chord inversions is a piece of cake
* horizontally adjacent cells are still one semitone apart which is important for pitch bends (this requirement rules out many other tunings with cool properties. But sacrificing this "string" property on Linnstrument would be... not so good...)
* even bigger range than all-fourth

I understand why all-fourth is the default for Linnstrument - the same why one channel mode is the default etc. - way of the least resistance for most musicians who have already some guitar and bass experience. Plug cable into computer. Play. Works as "expected".

But for people who look at the Linnstrument as a self-contained instrument (instead as "midi guitar surface") it might be worth looking into tritone tuning.

As most people will probably not change the default (and the Linnstrument is kind of a trend setter when it comes to grid based electronic instruments) I am glad that Mr. Linn decided on all fourth tuning instead of guitar tuning :) Even if not perfect (in the face of better alternatives) it at least "makes sense" :)

NothanUmber
KVRist
349 posts since 1 Jul, 2004

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:30 am

Interesting thread!
Tried to understand why the fourth tuning is so popular for guitars (lowest four strings):
a) a fourth is part of many trichords, so with fourth tuning this interval can be played with barré or open strings (to get even more barré and open string chords on six strings the default guitar layout has it's major third step)
b) on a guitar each concurrent note has to be played on a separate string. Additionally positions should not be too far apart for comfortable hand positions. With fourth tuning the "worst case" spread for concurrent intervals (<= an octave) is five frets - e.g. for a semitone - which is still good. Fifth tuning is already more difficult to play in low positions with seven frets worst case spread. For major third tuning it would even be better with 4 frets (and chromatic scales in just one position),...
c) ...but this comes at the expense of smaller tonal range. Here fourth tuning is better.
d) Open strings on an acoustic instrument slightly start to vibrate when another string is played where an overtone corresponds to the tuning of that string, pronouncing this overtone. With fourths being dominant harmonics (fifth downwards) this leads to a pleasant resonance behavior.

For Linnstrument:
a) almost irrelevant. The only advantage might be that one finger can play a fourth in some chords
b) notes can be played on the same "string", so the worst case interval is now a fourth - either six keys apart or on top of each other. "Frets" are much closer on Linnstrument than on guitar though, so six keys is still ok
c) still applies. We have eight "strings" though, so less of a problem
d) does not apply

So some reasons to chose fourth tuning don't apply to Linnstrument. But there are also no big reasons NOT to use it - if one is familiar with it already.

If looking for the "perfect" electronic grid-layout instrument tuning I would also lean towards augmented third (tritone) tuning though:
* it makes the 6-6 structure of the two whole tone scales obvious (every even column belongs to the first, every odd column to the second whole tone scale). So the positions of notes in scales can easily be deduced from their structure (where are the semi tones).
* Notes repeat after two strings, so (like written in the OP) you can play the same scale or chord in the same position with the same fingering over several octaves
* the note positions are more natural for the hand, because you can almost always play an interval "to the left" instead of upwards or even to the right (fingers crossed)
* playing chord inversions is a piece of cake
* horizontally adjacent cells are still one semitone apart which is important for pitch bends (this requirement rules out many other cell-to-pitch mappings with cool properties. But sacrificing this "string" property on Linnstrument would be... not so good...)
* even bigger range than all-fourth

Essentially tritone tuning is the grid variant of the Wicki-Hayden layout - fifth going diagonally to the right, fourth diagonally to the left, semi tone steps left and right (in Wicki-Hayden every second horizontal key is missing. So semitones are more difficult to play. So this is imho even better as it doesn't tailor so much towards harmonic chords but still provides the "logics" of WH layout on top)

I understand why all-fourth is the default for Linnstrument - the same why one channel mode is the default etc. - way of the least resistance for most musicians who have already some guitar and bass experience. Plug cable into computer. Play. Works as "expected".

But for people who look at the Linnstrument as a self-contained instrument (instead as "midi guitar surface") it might be worth looking into tritone tuning.

As most people will probably not change the default (and the Linnstrument is kind of a trend setter when it comes to grid based electronic instruments) I am glad that Mr. Linn decided on all fourth tuning instead of guitar tuning :) Even if not perfect (in the face of better alternatives) it at least "makes sense" :)

NothanUmber
KVRist
349 posts since 1 Jul, 2004

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:34 am

One other interesting layout that I use for Eigenharp is minor third tuning.
The nice thing is that whole tones go up diagonally.
So to play scales you just go up diagonal steps for the whole tones and horizontal steps for the semitones. Chords are also super symmetric and usually playable within three rows.

On Eigenharp I have this turned by 90 degrees, so you have a minor third between keys on a string. Which gives great range and also aligns chords horizontally to the playing surface.
On Linnstrument doing this would loose the pitch bending option (as vertical pitch bends are not possible over several keys). And with minor thirds upwards this mapping has a small range (and you have to turn the hand by 90 degrees for chords).
So not optimal for Linnstrument (tritone should be better.) But interesting to play around with :)

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:38 am

Great discussion! If you’d care to make videos showing the advantages for chord play of either the Tritone or minor 3rd tunings, I’m sure others would value them.

NothanUmber
KVRist
349 posts since 1 Jul, 2004

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:43 am

Ok, here a GigPerformer script to realize the 90 degrees turned layout. Not optimal as it only has the lower five rows enabled. But as a PoC hack it should do. (Still has 6 and a half octaves). Pitch bending horizontally is still possible but now you have three semitones between two cells instead of one.
Here some key+ppt presentation I did years ago to highlight the properties of this layout (for Eigenharp):
http://fstrixner.de/files/EigenD/Eigenh ... Layout.zip

Not really sure whether this is great for Linnstrument (as having three instead of one semitone between horizontal keys is probably less intuitive given the existing horizontal cell haptic divisions).
But for the sake of experimentation - why not :)


// GigPerformer script for 90 degrees turned minor third tuning
// usage: set Linnstrument to
// * "no overlap"
// * tune down by two octaves and three semitones (so the available
// MIDI notes fill the bottom five rows)
// * enable channel aftertouch instead poly aftertouch
// (haven't found a way to remap poly-aftertouch in GPScript).
//
// Create a MIDI in, set the GPScript name to "midiin" and
// connect a MPE capable synth plugin
// Currently only the lowest five rows works because there are not
// enough MIDI notes to distinctly identify 200 keys.
var
midiin : MidiInBlock
NUM_COLUMNS : Integer
NUM_ROWS : Integer
FIRST_NOTE_NUMBER : Integer
TRANSPOSE_SEMITONES : Integer

Initialization
NUM_ROWS = 5
NUM_COLUMNS = 25
FIRST_NOTE_NUMBER = 3
TRANSPOSE_SEMITONES = 24
End

On PitchBendEvent(m : PitchBendMessage) from midiin
var
pitchbendNumber : Integer
newPitchBendNumber : Integer
newPitchBendMessage : PitchBendMessage
channel : Integer

channel = GetChannel(m)
pitchbendNumber = GetPitchBendValue(m)
newPitchBendNumber = (pitchbendNumber - 8192) * 3 + 8192
if newPitchBendNumber > 16383 then newPitchBendNumber = 16383 end
if newPitchBendNumber < 0 then newPitchBendNumber = 0 end
newPitchBendMessage = MakePitchBendMessageEx(newPitchBendNumber, channel)
SendNow(midiin, newPitchBendMessage)
End

On NoteEvent(m : NoteMessage) from midiin
var
noteNumber : Integer
newNoteNumber : Integer
row : Integer
column : Integer

noteNumber = GetNoteNumber(m) - FIRST_NOTE_NUMBER
row = noteNumber / NUM_COLUMNS
column = noteNumber % NUM_COLUMNS
newNoteNumber = NUM_ROWS - row + column * 3 + TRANSPOSE_SEMITONES
SendNow(midiin, WithNoteNumber(m, newNoteNumber))
End
Last edited by NothanUmber on Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:11 am, edited 7 times in total.

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Roger_Linn
KVRAF
2125 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:55 am

hi NothanUmber,
I suspect that an Eigenharp script may not be so useful to LinnStrument owners. Assuming you don't own a LinnStrument, a video demonstrating the advantages of chords in your suggested tuning may be more helpful for this forum's participants.

NothanUmber
KVRist
349 posts since 1 Jul, 2004

Post Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:05 am

This is not an Eigenharp script, it is for the DAW GigPerformer (which is a scriptable DAW for live performance) and just transforms the input midi data coming from a Linnstrument (that is supposed to be set up as described) to accordingly remapped events.
Might record something at some point (just not too comfortable with this...)

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