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The Notebender Keyboard uses longitudinal key motion to control pitch independently for each key, and is described in patents issued to the Web site owner and his collaborators beginning in 1978. Longitudinal key displacement is clearly visible in the photograph of a 1983 prototype shown here.
Photograph by Jonathan Goell, ©1984, Key Concepts, Inc.
The Notebender keyboard introduced the use of undercut black keys to allow all keys to move either forward or back by fully ¾ inch (19 mm) without interfering with one another. Other innovations included a spring return to center with a frictionless detent to prevent the keys from moving longitudinally when the additional control mode is not needed. The electronic prototype, completed in 1983, used rubber inserts in the keytops (visible in the illustration) instead of the lateral grooves and indentations of the 1970's prototype also shown in an article on this site.
With the longitudinal key motion controlling pitch over a range of +/- 2 semitones, the Notebender keyboard is somewhat more difficult to play than a conventional keyboard, though much less difficult than a clavichord or synthesizer which controls pitch through increased downward force on the keys. When the longitudinal key motion controls a variable which does not need as precise control as pitch, the Notebender keyboard is no more difficult to play than a conventional keyboard. The ability to adjust pitch either up or down gives the Notebender keyboard a great expressive capability in the hands of a talented performer.Key Concepts and Notebender are registered trademarks of Key Concepts, Inc. The Notebender keyboard with longitudinal key motion is described in U.S. patents 4,068,552, 4,498,365, 4,665,788 and related foreign patents assigned to Key Concepts Inc., telephone (USA) 617 492-8858.
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