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OldHippy 12-11-2007 07:55 PM

Piano keyboard
I know this isn't about drums but we are supposed to know a bit about music theory anyway.

The question is, what is the logic behind selecting which of the keys will be the black keys (besides them being used for sharps and flats)? Now, there are 12 notes in the octave and there is an equal half step between each note. So instead of having all 12 keys in a row, someone decided to pull certain ones out and turn them into black keys, leaving a whole step between white keys. However, that's not the reason because there is only a half step between E and F which are also white keys.

I suspect it was done only to accomodate the C-major scale, so that it can be played on all the white keys without skipping over any of them. Thus you have 7 white keys all in a row, even though they contain a mixture of whole and half steps.

There is nothing anywhere that says this, though, so I could be all wrong. Most of the explanations just tell you what the keys are but not how they got that way.

GRUNTERSDAD 12-11-2007 08:50 PM

Re: Piano keyboard
It would be tough to play if all 12 were side by side. This way you can reach all of the keys with your hand in one place, like a typewriter on computer keyboard or telephone. Saves space and makes them all easier to use. I'm sure the key of C had something to do with the arrangement, and seeing the black makes it easier to distinguish when looking for them quickly. Imagine a guitar with one long string capable of all tones but you couldn't reach it. Also helps to play chords. I have small hands but can reach a C to C octave (piano) but not if 12 keys were side by side.

Mediocrefunkybeat 12-12-2007 12:56 AM

Re: Piano keyboard
Something to do with Gregorian Hexachords and Pythagoras I'd imagine. No I'm not joking.

GRUNTERSDAD 12-12-2007 07:52 PM

Re: Piano keyboard

Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat (Post 387244)
Something to do with Gregorian Hexachords and Pythagoras I'd imagine. No I'm not joking.

Although the modern major and minor scales are strongly related to two of the church modes, the modern eight-tone scale is based on different harmonic principles and is organized differently from the scales of the church modes, which are based on six-note patterns called hexachords. The main notes in a hexachord are the dominant and the final. Depending on where the final falls in the sequence of the hexachord, the mode is characterized as either authentic or plagal. Modes with the same final share certain characteristics, and it is easy to modulate back and forth between them, hence the eight modes fall into four larger groupings based on their finals.

Just had to throw that in. Wikipedia

junglelord 12-13-2007 12:38 AM

Re: Piano keyboard
Piano Logic

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