Black Keys Key Switching

Have you ever wondered why the black keys on a piano are placed the way they are? Before you continue reading, please try to answer it yourself: Why there is this unrythmic pattern of keys in each octave?

Some people will explain it themselves by simply saying it's for historical reasons, other will go further and claim that the conventional piano scheme is 'optimal' in mathematical senses, taking advantages of musical aspect ratios etc, or that it maximizes the number of consonant chords that can be played only with the white keys' and so on and so forth.

While I (the developer) don't want to make accusations here at this point, and definitely don't want to pretend that I know all the answers, I found one particular reason in all of my researches that seems the most logical to me: visual orientation! I mean, imagine there were no black keys at all …

… it would be rather hard to know which keys you're allowed to play, and which you're not, right? Well, it depends, we can say. Because as soon as when filtering out unwanted notes through a technique like with AutoTonic's modal mapping there won't be any wrong keys anymore anyways. That's why it doesn't matter really, we can leave the black keys away now and use them as function toggles instead (→Headers) …

Each of these so called 'Headers' can store either a tonic information or a scale pattern or both. So depending on what Headers get toggled simultaneously, or in successive way, the global active scale mapping will update your input keyboard's mapping (white keys) instantly, in realtime.

In AutoTonic these Headers are represented by these weird-shaped objects, that sit on each black key. What information is stored into each Header is indicated by abbreviations, respectively the tonic. If there is no information present it means that no parameter will be updated when activating this Header.

There is also always one key that has the 'POWER Button' on it, which will at any point allow to enable/disable the whole AutoTonic transposing engine, so you can even call up the traditional piano scheme – how your keyboard would work normally – as well. Where these Headers sit and what they've stored into them, can be fully customized.

With AutoTonic you can use the black keys as function toggles to change your mappings in realtime. Positioned at the closest possible point to the white keys, right above your fingertips, AutoTonic feels like a complete new futuristic controller concept.