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Based on the premise that the hand can barely stretch more than a 9th on the piano, and that the same scale is fingered differently in each key, Jankó's new keyboard had two interlocking 'manuals' with three touch-points for each key lever. Instead of the traditional row of white and black keys, the keyboard has an array of keys.
Each vertical column of keys is a semitone away from its neighboring columns, and on each horizontal row of keys the interval from one note to the next is a whole step. This key layout results in each chord and scale having the same "shape" on the keyboard with the same fingerings regardless of key, unlike a traditional keyboard, which require twelve different patterns for each key.
For an 88 note (full size) keyboard, there would be 264 keys in total, with each note playable by 3 keys in vertical alignment. In the picture (below), the white keys have been coloured to show how the keys are interconnected. Instead of 123 cm the keyboard is only 89 cm large. Due to the smaller keys one hand can reach more keys.
The Jankó keyboard never caught on, mainly because few were prepared to relearn their repertoire on a new unestablished keyboard with totally new fingering. Also, since cast-iron framed pianos were not very portable, Jankó pianos would not have been available for musicians on the move. It could have rivaled the traditional piano if it had been invented at an earlier period, when keyboards were more portable due to the lighter wooden frame, and when the traditional keyboard was not quite as favoured as it was after the romantic era. Finally the pedagogical advantage of the traditional keyboard pattern, allowing beginners to start playing in a tonality (C major) without having to understand the tonal and harmonic principles isn't to be underestimated. Therefore, the Janko piano retains the colouring of traditional keyboards (white naturals, black sharps and flats) without the usual necessity to learn all other key patterns as an alteration of a C major scale.
Many embodiments of this keyboard have appeared since its conception. Jankó himself (in German patent 25852, dated 14 Jan 1884) originally chose a key shape which resembled the slim, black keys on the familiar piano keyboard. A year later (in German patent 32138, dated 1 Jul 1885) the keys became wider and shorter. Other inventors have filed patents for keyboards which are substantially similar to his design, differing most often in key shape or instrument to which those keyboards are affixed. (For example: John Trotter [English Patent 3404, 4 March 1811], William A.B.Lunn devised in 1843 under the name of Arthur Wallbridge a sequential keyboard with two parallel rows of keys, each in whole tones. Gould and Marsh [U.S. Patent 24021, 17 May 1859], Edgar [U.S. Patent 119335, 26 Sep 1871], Cramer [U.S. Patent 152726, 7 Jul 1874], McChesney [U.S. Patent 161086, 6 Apr 1875], Stewart [U.S. Patent 497426, 19 Jan 1886], Adams [U.S. Patent 682014, 3 Sep 1901], Nordbö [U.S. Patent 1202882, 31 Oct 1916], Barnett [U.S. Patent 1958227, 8 May 1934], Reuther [U.S. Patent 2203393, 4 Jun 1940], Firestone [U.S. Patent 2417639, 11 Jun 1945], and Reuther [U.S. Patent 2557690, 5 Apr 1950].) The most recent patents are for MIDI compatible instruments.
a b c# d# f g a b c# a# c d e f# g# a# c a b c# d# f g a b c# a# c d e f# g# a# c a b c# d# f g a b c# a# c d e f# g# a# c
See also 
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- Pianoworld article
- The Cipher for Whole Tone or Janko Chromatic Keyboard
- Intuitive instruments for improvisers Jankó keyboard
- The Uniform Keyboard (contains many pictures of instruments with Jankó keyboards)
- The Chromatone 312 (MIDI keyboard and synthesizer with Janko layout)
- Mouse and PC Keyboard Music (Windows program) - try out Janko layouts with PC keyboard (similar layout of keys) - any tuning for the keys.
- Piano vs. Accordions including 6+6(Janko) (Java Apps on Windows and Mac) - Try and compare many musical key layouts with vertically held keyboard.
- Daskin Manufacturing (MIDI controller keyboards with Janko layout)
- Wicki.org.uk, free UK site containing Java, Flash, and PC applications to enable users to play their alpha-numeric keyboard to sound 12 equal tempered pitches using Wicki/Hayden or Janko layout.
- IsoKeys is a free application that provides a Jankó keyboard on touch-screen Android devices.
- Demo, Demonstration of the advantages of the Jankó Keyboard by Paul Vandervoort, considered to be the world's foremost player of the device. Program: "Kitten on the Keys" by Zez Confrey; explanation of the Janko note arrangement and advantages over a standard keyboard; demonstration of musical passages which are difficult or impossible to play on a standard keyboard; "C#-Major Prelude" from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach; Boogie-woogie rendition of "Bye Bye Blackbird".
-  (A report on the Jankó keyboard shown at the 1893 Chicago Exposition)