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hello,why the colour of black keys and white keys are different (opposite?)?

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  • hello,why the colour of black keys and white keys are different (opposite?)?

    hello,

    I would like to know: why the colour of black keys and white keys of organs/harpsichords in the Baroque period are different(opposite?) from those in modern pianos(organs) ?

    Thank you

    WYZB-)

  • #2
    My guess is due to economics and availability of materials. Thus, one probably finds regional variations.

    Comment


    • #3
      The custom of black naturals actually originated in France; the goal was to show the keyboardist's hands better. On the other hand, this was somewhat before the proliferation of non-naturals (early keyboards had no accidentals, and f-sharp was the only accidental for a while). Once accidentals became common, reverse-color keyboards were the norm, until ivory became a common material for keys, and wood was phased out (except for ebony, used now for accidentals).
      I rather love reverse-color keyboards, but I used to play on a romantic-type French Canadian organ with them, and it was just odd and very anachronistic for the style--perhaps the builder was trying to appease the more neo-baroque even while providing "decadent" padding in the stoplist. The organ was a big success, but that still bugs me a bit.
      As of 7/16/2013, no longer active on forum.
      Practice hard, practice well.

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      • #4
        If one were building a console, one would be able to choose any combination of woods/other coverings for naturals and sharps. Everyone is now accustomed to the stark B/W contrast, but when woods are used (unstained, as even ebony is more of a dull dark brown in its natural state) the contrast level is very compressed, and it would be very difficult to tell in a photograph, for instance, whet the compass and starting/stopping notes were. Wood-covered keys seem an exotic luxury item to me. I'll settle for real ivory and real ebony.
        Casey

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        • #5
          Wood-covered keys seem an exotic luxury item to me. I'll settle for real ivory and real ebony.
          I guess real ivory is a rather illegal luxury these days reserved for dictators in certain countries and people of the family (the one you don't talk about). You might get by with bone.

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          • #6
            Mastadon ivory is legal and irregularly available. The cost premium is considerable. Fortunately some of the better synthetic materials are quite good these days.

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