About 20 years ago I had an idea for a piano with a black key between each white key. The piano keys would look like the second set in the image below. The advantages of such a piano are

  1. To play a piece in a different key, one need only shift one’s hands to the right or left.
  2. To play a standard, old style piano, one has to learn 12 different fingerings — one for each note in the scale.  With the new style piano, one would have to learn just two different fingerings:  for the white keys and for the black keys.
  3. The piano would result in a larger hand span: one full note extra in the span of a user’s hand from the thumb to the little finger.

A disadvantage is that a major scale in the key of C would no longer involve just the white keys. That disadvantage is minor compared to the convenience of needing to learn just two fingerings and the ability to switch keys by shifting to the right or left.

Beginners would more quickly master such a piano, I believe.  Pianists accustomed to old style pianos would have to learn the new fingerings.

It’s a rather obvious idea. Why haven’t instrument makers adopted it?

New Style Piano

Unfortunately, a patent search in the European Patent Office showed that a Chinese inventor, Yu Shusen, already patented such a keyboard in China (patent number CN201117227).  According to this, the patent has expired. This demonstrates that I should have taken the initiative and filed a patent 20 years ago.  Trust and value yourself.