Usage Of Keyboard Keys

The Main Keyboard Section:

Left Control-Key: Decrease velocity setting

Right Control-Key: Increase velocity setting

Windows-Key: Can’t use

Menu-Key: Can’t use

Left Alt-Key: Decrease volume setting

Right Alt-Key: Increase volume setting

Space-Bar: Toggle the sustain-control on, or off

Left Shift: Play any subsequent note-key pressed a half-step lower (flat)

Z, X, C, V, B, N, M, Comma, Period, Forward-Slash: Music keys, increasing in pitch, from left to right

Right Shift: Play any subsequent note-key pressed, a half-step higher (sharp)

Caps-Lock: Press repeatedly for a ‘down’ wah-wah effect of all melody notes currently playing (except on Mac OS X)

A, S, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, Semi-Colon, Apostrophe: Music keys, increasing in pitch, from right to left

Enter-Key: Press repeatedly for an ‘up’ wah-wah effect of all melody notes currently playing

Tab-Key: Press to advance to the next component in the window

Shift-Tab-Key: Press to advance to the prior component in the window

Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U, I, O, P, Left-Square-Bracket, Right-Square-Bracket, Back-Slash: Music keys, increasing in pitch, from left to right

Acute-Accent, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, Minus-Sign, Equal-Sign, Backspace: Music keys, increasing in pitch, from right to left

Escape-Key: Silence any stuck-notes from playing

F1: Switch to the F1 Help Setup pane

F2: Switch to the F2 performance pane

F3: Switch to the F3 performance pane

F4: Switch to the F4 performance pane

F5: Switch to the F5 performance pane

F6: Switch to the F6 performance pane

F7: Switch to the F7 performance pane

F8: Switch to the F8 performance pane

F9: Switch to the F9 performance pane

F10: Switch to the F10 performance pane

F11: Switch to the Drums performance pane – causes full-screen on some OS’s, in that case, use the Scroll-Lock key

F12: Switch to the F12 performance pane

Keys Between The Main Keyboard Section And The Numeric Keypad:

Left-Arrow: Decrease volume setting

Right-Arrow: Increase volume setting

Down-Arrow: Decrease assignable-control setting

Up-Arrow: Increase assignable-control setting

Delete-Key: Decrease velocity setting

Insert-Key: (Help-Key on Mac): Increase the velocity setting

End-Key: Clear all chord settings, and return all multiple-use chord keys to their first (normal) usage

Home-Key: Restore the performance pane’s non-saved settings (mostly dealing with volume) to their original values

Page-Down: Play any subsequent note-key pressed a half-step lower (flat)

Page-Up: Play any subsequent note-key pressed a half-step higher (sharp)

The Numeric-Keypad Section:

0-Key: The “Play” key. While depressed, the currently-selected chord plays – it’s a double-width key. Use the thumb of your right hand for pressing this key, freeing your fingers for selecting the type of chord.

Period-Key: The “Suspended” chord-type key – double-tap it, and you get “Suspended-second”, double-tap again, “Suspended-Fourth”.

Enter-Key: The “Minor” chord-type key – press it to make the chord minor, or to remove the chord-type of minor if it’s already selected. This is a double-high key.

1-Key: Select the chord based on the first note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a major chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the first note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

2-Key: Select the chord based on the second note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a minor chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the second note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

3-Key: Select the chord based on the third note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a minor chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the third note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

4-Key: Select the chord based on the fourth note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a major chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the fourth note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

5-Key: Select the chord based on the fifth note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a major chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the fifth note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

6-Key: Select the chord based on the sixth note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a minor chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the sixth note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

Plus-Key: The “Major” chord-type key – press it to make the chord major, or to remove the chord-type of major if it’s already selected. This is a double-high key, except on a MacIntosh keyboard. On a Mac, the next key up is the minus-key, used for the Diminished chord-type.

7-Key: Select the chord based on the seventh note of the key-signature’s scale – it’s a diminished chord. If pressed a second time (or after the chord has already been selected), specifies the seventh note of the scale as the slash-chord note.

8-Key: Press to add (or remove if already set), the Sixth chord-attribute. Double-tap, and it’s the Eleventh chord-attribute. Double-tap again, and it’s the Thirteenth chord-attribute. Double-tap again, and it’s back to a Sixth chord-attribute.

9-Key: Press to add (or remove if already set), the Seventh chord-attribute.

Num-Lock Key: Num-Lock must be set to play chords on the numeric keypad. If chords don’t play, it’s probably not set. If you press this key, it switches the main window to the Chords pane. If you do that on Windows, you’ll have to press it again to re-enable num-lock. On Linux, the application automatically restores numeric lock.

Slash-Key: Press to add (or remove if already set) the Augmented-Fifth chord-attribute. Double-tap, and it’s the Flatted-Fifth chord-attribute. Double-tap again, and it’s back to Augmented.

Asterisk-Key: Press to add (or remove if already set) the Ninth chord-attribute. Double-tap, and it’s the Add-Ninth chord-attribute. Double-tap again, and it’s the Flatted-Ninth chord-attribute, which only works on standard chords. Double-tap again, and it’s back to Ninth.

Minus-Key: Press to add (or remove if already set) the Diminished chord-type.

Print-Screen-Key: Don’t use, or you’ll waste disk space with screen prints.

Scroll-Lock Key: Press this key to switch to the Drums pane, if F11 doesn’t work for that. On a Mac keyboard, use F13 for this.

Pause-Break Key: Press this key to toggle the numeric keypad between controlling chords, or dynamics. Initially, it controls chords. On a Mac keyboard, use F14 for this.

Playing Chords

To play a chord, you press a numeric keypad key in the range of one through seven, to select the chord, add any chord-type, or attributes, then (with the thumb of your right hand), press the zero-key. The chord will sound as long as you hold it down. While you’re holding it down, you can select the next chord. The chord changes the next time you press the zero-key. You can repeat the same chord by pressing the zero-key again.

Chord-Types

The keys on the right side of the numeric keypad, and also including the period-key, specify the chord-type. Only one if them can be set at a time, so if you press a new chord-type key, it will clear the old one. If you end up with all chord-types, and all chord-attributes clear, you will only hear the note the chord is based on, as well as a slash-chord note if you specified one.

Chord-Attributes

Chord attributes form a square of 4 adjacent keys, the 8-key, the 9-key, the slash-key, and the asterisk-key. Chord-attributes can be used along with chord-types, and can remain set. Multiple chord-attribute keys can be set, except for the 8-key (the Sixth), and the 9-key (the Seventh). If you set either of those keys, and the other is set, it clears that other key.

Chord Transitions

The most common chord transition in the music of our culture, is a one-chord, a four-chord, a five-chord, going back to a one-chord.

It’s natural for a one-chord to alternate with a four-chord, and a two-chord to alternate with a five-chord, and a three-chord to alternate with a six-chord.

The seven-chord is the odd-ball of the bunch, and it can alternate with a five-chord, or a 2-minor-chord

Other than that, it’s whatever you like. When you improvise, if you like it, it’s good.

The Difference Between Modal Chords, and Standard Chords

With modal chords, the type of chord is different, based on the note of the scale the chord is based on.

A one-chord is major, a two-chord is minor, a three-chord is minor, a four-chord is major, a five-chord is major, a six-chord is minor, and a seven-chord is diminished.

The chord-types are different to avoid using notes not in the key-signature’s scale. By limiting chords to use the notes of the scale, it makes improvisation natural and easy – you just play your tune using notes of the key-signature.

Though with modal chords, the first choice offered you will usually limit itself to notes of the scale, you can always over-ride that default choice, by changing types, or adding attributes.

If you play a chord using notes not in the key-signature’s scale (called an accidental), it automatically gives you that accidental in the melody section of the keyboard, provided you play the chord before you play the affected melody note.

The drawback of modal chords, is that you have to remember (or recognize by the sound) what chord-type and attributes you are using, and you may need to clear them, or change them for the next chord.

With standard chords, every chord starts out new, and no chord type or attribute remains set.

When you select a chord based on the note of the scale (a one-chord, a two-chord, a three-chord, a four-chord, a five-chord, a six-chord, or a seven-chord), if that’s all you select, it will always be a major chord.

That may introduce accidentals into your melody section, and your melody may sound weird. But you don’t have to remember (or recognize) what chord type or attribute you’re using.

You select a chord based on the note of the scale. It assumes major, but you can easily select some other chord type, and you can add attributes, to make the chord you want.

Basically, you specify the elements of the name of the written chord, from left, to right, when using the standard chords system.

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