Since the end of the Kickstarter campaign in November 2022, we have made progress on many topics in parallel, and we can now tell you about a major breakthrough: we have decided to increase the number of keys on the keyboard!
An optimized keyboard
We are changing from a 54-key keyboard (12 rows of 5 and 4 keys) to a 61-key keyboard (11 rows of 6 and 5 keys). Don’t worry, this has no impact on the price you paid, nor on the number of octaves of the keyboard (which remains at 3 in default note layout). On the other hand, it has a very positive impact on the visualization of the scales. Let’s explain!
Before jumping into it, a little lexicon first. You have surely heard of a scale, which is a set of notes that sound good with each other and which gives the tone, the atmosphere of a song. A scale is qualified by its mode, for example “major”, “minor”, etc., and by its tonic which is the name of the first note of this scale, for example “C”, “D”, etc. On our keyboard, the scale is a bright path of green keys, with the first note of the scale in orange.
You have certainly read it on our Kickstarter campaign or on our site, it turns out that with the default note layout, a large number of scales can be displayed on our keyboard in the form of a luminous double-path: 2 illuminated notes per line of keys, as in the animated diagram below. They are therefore very easy to play with two fingers on one hand or with two hands alternately, like the dualo keyboard of our previous products.
Keyboard V1: 12 lines of 5 and 4 keys.
All modes of C and G are displayed in a luminous double-strand without exiting the keyboard
But for some modes and some tones, the luminous strands located on one edge of the keyboard can “pop out”. The outgoing notes are then found on another line of keys and on the other side:
On a keyboard with 12 rows of 5 and 4 keys, we could therefore sometimes end up with a fragmented light path (sometimes 1 or 3 illuminated notes per row of keys), therefore less easy to visualize and navigate with our fingers.
Our research thus led us to slightly widen the keyboard by adding one more column, to switch to a keyboard with 11 rows of 6 and 5 keys: when one of the two luminous strands comes out of one of the sides of the keyboard, we can always display it entirely on the other side, in order to maintain a visual and ergonomic double-strand.
Transition from V1 keyboard to V2 keyboard: 11 lines of 6 and 5 keys.
Example of the B minor harmonic scale:
– On the V1 keyboard the two strands come out of the keyboard (in red)
– On the V2 keyboard we always have at least two whole strands
(in this case, three; we even have the choice of which one to hide, the one on the left).
In other words, explore comfortably all of the common and most atypical scales for ever more original creations! We bet you’ve never played in the gypsy, javanese, or locrian natural 6 scale 😉
Additional notes for those more knowledgeable in music theory:
– The harmonic/melodic, major/minor modes, but also many other less common 7-note modes will be displayed as luminous double-strands (always two notes per line), and this for all tonic notes.
– Duplicate notes, turned off by default to prevent you from playing the same note twice in two places on the keyboard, will of course remain displayable in color.
– Removing a line of keys from the keyboard has made it possible to eliminate very rare cases where the widening of the keyboard was insufficient (keyboard exit on the 12th line), but also and above all to reduce the height of the product while maintaining 3 full octaves for any displayed scale (the first and last keys lit in color are always the same notes separated by 3 octaves).
– We actually only have 2 semitones less between V1 and V2 on this layout of notes.
– Alternate hexagonal note layouts, which you can choose and even make your own, also benefit a little from expanding the keyboard, simply by expanding the key matrix horizontally.
Advancement of industrialization
The routing of the electronic boards with the new number of keys and the final design is in progress and we will soon receive the pre-industrial prototypes to verify that everything works as on the prototype of the Kickstarter video. We are very confident about this phase since there is no major change in the design of the card.
You probably noticed in the first image, the design of the Exquis keyboard has evolved a bit.
Integrating standards issues with compatibility constraints between the Pure and Deluxe versions proved to be a real challenge. We are still fine-tuning a few details with our partner No Design and we will soon be able to reveal the final designs to you.
We have also made a lot of progress on the graphic design of the application, which has undergone several phases of improvement, and we are in the process of implementing it. We did a lot of simulation work to make the app even more intuitive and visual. We will soon be able to enter a test phase and we will not fail to show you a preview in a future news!