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Balanced keyboard layout
The dimensions and overall feel of the Balanced keyboard are similar to the standard keyboard. However, the keys are now in a regular and consistent layout. The following pictures show 3 octaves of the standard keyboard and 3 octaves of the Balanced keyboard for comparison:

Standard keyboard (3 octaves)

Balanced keyboard (3 octaves)

As you can see, the Balanced keyboard mixes up the black and white keys in both the top and bottom rows. The black and white colours still correspond to the natural (white) or sharp/flat (black) notes as on the standard keyboard, making the Balanced keyboard straightforward to navigate.

Alternative Balanced keyboard layout (F-based)
The C-based Balanced keyboard layout shown above is historically the most common arrangement of the Balanced keyboard, and has the white keys of C, D and E in the bottom row. However, there is also an alternative F-based layout, which has the white keys of F, G, A and B in the bottom row:

F-based Balanced keyboard (3 octaves)

This layout was kindly suggested to this website by Doug Keislar, the current editor of the Computer Music Journal, who modified a piano to this layout back in in 1980! Doug suggested that this layout has the advantage of having 7 keys in the same position as the standard keyboard. By comparison, the C-based layout has only 5 keys in the same position, but it might be more familiar if you normally navigate from C.

Note layout
The note-by-note layout of 1 octave of the C-based Balanced keyboard is as follows:

Balanced keyboard note layout (1 octave)

Physical dimensions
The main dimensional difference of the Balanced keyboard is in the bottom-row keys. The Balanced keyboard has six bottom-row keys per octave instead of the standard keyboard's seven. Because these keys occupy the same physical octave width as on the standard keyboard, the Balanced keyboard has a wider bottom-row key spacing. For a Balanced keyboard created by modifying a standard keyboard (as described in the Build one section of this website), this means that the bottom-row keys will have small gaps between them.

However, in the top row, both the key widths and the spacings of the keys are still the same, so there is still a similar feel to the standard keyboard, and you can still press the bottom-row keys between the spacings of the top-row keys as usual.

The two keyboard diagrams at the top of this page (showing the 3-octave sections of standard and Balanced keyboards) are scaled to their correct comparative physical sizes, and show the dimensional correspondances between the two types of keyboard.

In the vertical direction, the key lengths of both the top and bottom rows of the Balanced keyboard are still the same with as the standard keyboard.


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