top of page


Keygrid Musical Interface

The perfect fourths layout as a superior polyphonic instrument class


The perfect fourths layout:

a superior polyphonic instrument class

I get asked from time to time, 'why not just play the piano?'

And a short answer would be, 'why don't we use steam engines in cars anymore?'

The point is about efficiency. If it makes playing music easier, it makes learning music easier. This is the reason it has so much potential, especially for musical youth. I lay out many of the advantages

in the document - but in summary, the congruency of intervals allows simplicity of intervallic relationships, and a multitude of benefits stem from that for the learning process.

A keygrid (as opposed to keyboard) is a polyphonic, contrapuntal instrument class with the notes arranged vertically in perfect fourths, and horizontally as chromatic. It is playable with two hands like a piano [or organ, harpsichord, or any other keyboard instrument], but with a system of notes matching

the guitar in perfect 4ths tuning, a bass guitar, double bass, etc.


I indeed hold this conviction -that keygrid instruments will begin to match the piano/ keyboard over time as it is increasingly realized

in humanity's musical consciousness. The cool thing to see, since it

is so early, is who really will be the first players to actualize this potential? Which companies will develop and manufacture models?

The larger corporations or independents? Will the established

musical institutions see the potential right away, or wait for it to be proven?

To me, it's not a matter of 'if’ - but when, and who first.

I am developing educational frameworks for the keygrid class, and will publish updates on my website

( after stages of completion.



About dynamics regarding pad/key depression, velocity, + tactility (esp. to instrument manufacturers):

The touch-sensitive pads I currently use are not ideal velocity function. I often limit the velocity on them, because the calibration of velocity touch doesn't feel exactly right.

But this is due to my feel of the pads and tech, not the keygrid layout.

Instrument manufacturers would have to consider the depression of keys and velocity function towards a true standardization of the keygrid (perfect fourths contrapuntal layout) instrument. I would propose a relatively shorter distance from key press to strike than the keyboard. This changes the

performance dynamics to a degree, yet accommodates expression for the larger interval range available for each hand (without changing position) respectively.

Also, new models can explore a mild, perhaps convex elevation of the black keys, and possibly an even more mild concave depression in the white keys, though perhaps a more distinct elevation shaping should also be tested in similar function as the traditional black keys,

'to provide tactile, isomorphic purposes for the keygrid musical interface.'


& Initial Demonstrations

[YouTube Playlist]

Overhead Unabridged Performances

[Vimeo Collection]

bottom of page