Mike Burr - log

[comp] keychords

I always liked the sound of "keychords". Good metaphor.

I wonder...

We transcribe thoughts to sound with a "keyboard". We also transcribe thoughts to text with a "keyboard". As noted, we have "keychords". The metaphor falls apart beyond that, I think.

What if we re-thought the concept of the computer type of keyboard? There are endless geek keyboards that reposition the letters and maybe slightly more exotic things.

Just as a random stab, and riffing off the piano/typewriter connection/metaphor, what about a "time based input system". Maybe there's a better word.

I shall describe.

Forgetting momentarily about what it might sound like, you can imagine having a piano "keyboard" wired up to a computer as a "keyboard".

Assume you're a real pro and can sight-read like a mofo. Suppose for now we replace the sound of each note with a keyboard sounding "click" (or mute if you like.)

You can encode the ASCII et al as general ivory tickling of whatever type works best. There are endless approaches. Your piano has 88 keys. A keyboard has 104-ish keys. Drop a few and you can just map note to byte. 88->128. You could cover the gaps by just inventing arbitrary "chords", or even intervals: 88-chose-2 = n!/(𝑟!(𝑛−𝑟)!) = 3828. We got you, fam.

But given the number of other "cords" (How do we count "all actual piano chords" in the music sense?), whom I think are legion, we could map some common words to popular, pleasing, or easily-fingered chords; or some careful balance of all factors, consulting you, our pianist.

We can also play with timing, e.g. Play F♯ diminished seventh every 3rd beat to enable caplocks.

What if we chose our encoding such that it sounds memorable or pleasant to the ear. Maybe we ask you, blackbelt pianist and sight-reader, "Do you hear this in your head as you type it? If so, do you have suggestions that would make the encoding easier or make the process better in any way?"

If we come up with some clever encoding system, would we end up with something melodic or rhythmic in such a way that it's memorable in the way that some songs are? How do we tap into the earworm effect?

At this point, your pianist skills are assumed to be absolute. Gedanken!

Having come up with such a system, what happens if you reverse the process and turn text into "piano music". (This would be a design consideration because e.g. if keys -> letters and chords -> words, you have ambiguity.) What would that sound like? Would we have: Ernest Hemming way --> delta blues and Jane Austin -> stuffy harpsichord ...?

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