My Janko Glockenspiel
My Janko Glockenspiel The development of the 4×3 Tonnetz notation discussed in my earlier post is motivated in part by Roy Pertchik’s tri-color vibraphone with it’s 6-6 “Janko” keyboard arrangement. http://users.rcn.com/roypertchik/2ndPage/Music/theory1.htm. This suggested to me that the simplest and most economical way to get a real Janko instrument was to modify a xylophone. I was able to find an inexpensive CB bell kit (2 octaves A5-A7). Rearrangement of the bars was relatively easy as the bars are attached by screws to a wooden frame. Once the bars are rearranged, the holes in the bars will mate with only one of the original screw holes in the frame, so I temporarily let the other end of the bar float free. It is still playable, if I’m not too vigorous! At some point I will need to secure the other end, or at least substitute spacer pegs for the original mounting pegs. The keyboard arrangement may be a bit difficult to recognize due to the A-A range. The front four white bars are F G A B, and the black bars immediate behind them are Gb Ab Bb. The white bars C D E were moved to the back row, the black bars Db Eb were moved forward, and the “missing” black bar positions Cb and Fb were filled in, leaving empty slots at the end of each row (not all visible in this photo). The full arrangement is: b C D E g a b C D E g a A B d e F G A B d e F G A The particular instrument I found used the traditional while and black bar coloring. So to get Roy’s tri-color scheme, I just added star stickers in red, white, and blue! I plan to replace them with the 3-color 4-orientation notehead symbols of my Tonnetz notation. (This could be approximated by suitably orienting the star stickers.) I had no previous experience with the Xylophone before building this instrument, but in spite of that, with the Janko arrangement and tri-color stickers, I found it relatively easy to play songs “by ear” ( I had limited experience singing solfedge) and to transpose into any key. The whole project cost under $100 and a few hours time. I found it a considerable advantage to have a real 6-6 instrument to play while exploring 6-6 notations. At this price, there was really no excuse not to. What’s more, it suggests that low cost 6-6 chromatic “xylophone” type instruments could be made available for children. (The instruments could even be produced by the children themselves–see for example http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1981-11-01/The-Pipe-Xylophone.aspx. Other plans use wood or PVC pipe for the tone bars. Or you might prefer to buy a commercial instrument with tuned bars and just build your own frame). This would enable us to explore the pedagogical benefits of the 6-6 arrangement (and corresponding notations) vs. the traditional method. Indeed, xylophones are already a staple of the Orff approach to music instruction for children http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orff_Schulwerk so it may be possible to adapt existing skills and methods.