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Playing the Balanced keyboard
The Balanced keyboard's regular layout means that the physical shapes of chords, scales, intervals and so forth are consistent wherever they are played on the keyboard, in all musical keys. A simple, regular and consistent approach to all keys is from the beginning a simple and integral part of one's playing. This is the major advantage of the Balanced keyboard over the standard keyboard.

Taking the major triad as an example, the following diagram shows the shape of this chord with a number of different root notes:

Major triads on the Balanced keyboard
Major triad starting at C Major triad starting at A Major triad starting at F# Major triad starting at D#

As can be seen from the major triad example, the following general rule holds for all elements of musical structure on the Balanced keyboard:

On the Balanced keyboard, any given element of musical structure has a physical shape based around only 2 mirror-image shapes, one starting in the bottom row and one in the top row.

The keyboard shape of each element of musical structure can be specified and learned purely as consistent shapes, independent of any musical key or root. Each element only has 2 mirror-image shapes. Learn any element of musical structure,along with its simple mirror image, in one position on the keyboard and you can then easily play it anywhere on the keyboard - the element's shape stays completely consistent.

Chords on the Balanced keyboard
Chords are great on the Balanced keyboard - learning chords only requires the learning of the basic shape, and the mirror image for the other row is easily arrived at, as shown in the major triad example below:

Major triad on the Balanced keyboard

Scales on the Balanced keyboard
Although the overall shape of scales is consistent on the Balanced keyboard, the inherent shape complexity of scales, and the fact that their nature is sequential rather than simultaneous, means that the Balanced keyboard still requires one to maintain a visualisation of where the shape of the scale lies on the keys. As an example, the layout of the major scale on the Balanced keyboard is as follows :

Major scale on the Balanced keyboard

Intervals on the Balanced keyboard
Intervals are very simple on the Balanced keyboard, because their visualisation consists only of a consistent physical distance along the keyboard, coupled with whether the interval is in the same row or opposite row. This is very powerful for quickly reaching required intervals above or below a particular note - for example, moving down a minor 3rd interval to the relative minor scale. It is also very powerful for recognising intervals being played, and the interval structure of melodies, for example runs of repeated fixed intervals.

The following example shows the perfect 5th interval on the Balanced keyboard:

Perfect 5th interval on the Balanced keyboard

The benefits of consistency
The consistent and regular nature of the Balanced keyboard is its major strength. It means that you can learn and retain the shapes of the elements of musical structure very easily, so that they soon become second nature. The consistency also gives a very strong and permanent feel for 'where everything is'. Using the interval example above, the interval of a perfect fifth will always be 3 keys away and in the opposite key row. Finally, it makes it easier for you to learn to perceive and recognise musical structure on-the-fly while playing, because the physical shapes of musical structure elements are easy to recognise.

All in all, the regular layout of the Balanced keyboard transforms the way in which you learn and play musical structure on the keyboard.

Overall feel and playability
In terms of its overall feel and playability, the Balanced keyboard is just a slightly modified version of a standard keyboard, rather than being a completely different playing system, so the overall feel and playability is virtually identical, making it familiar and comfortable to switch to.

    Copyright (c) Bart Willemse 2003 - 2023. All rights reserved.