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Topic: Using a Programmable Keypad (was: "Remapping Numeric Keypad") (Read 12027 times) previous topic - next topic

Using a Programmable Keypad (was: "Remapping Numeric Keypad")

Is anyone else using a remapped numeric keypad to enter notes?  If so, what functions, and in what configuration, have you found to optimal.  I am in the process of experimenting and would like to avoid learning twice (three/four times!) "18-key-by-touch" if the group mind has already hit upon the "right combination".  If not, I'll post mine :-)  Omar

Re: Remapping Numeric Keypad

Reply #1
Hi Omar,
hmm, I've never really thought about remapping the numeric pad as I find it does pretty much what I need it to...

Could you share your thoughts on why you want to remap it?  Perhaps I'm missing something.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals, youfonymums 'n tubies.

Re: Remapping Numeric Keypad

Reply #3
Since my original post I have discovered that a standard 18-key numeric keypad, even when remapped,  does not offer a sufficient speed advantage to justify learning "a new way".  However programmable macros are a "game-changer".  For instance you get the ability to add  a dynamic with one keypress: Pressing a key labeled <p|pp> can "read" the lower boundary of its staff and insert a "piano" two spaces above that. (Use <SHFT> for pianissimo)

The 24-key keypad I have ordered has three "double keys", situate-able/orientable to taste.  These are most useful optioned as <ENTER>, <SHIFT>  & <CTRL>.  <ENTER> and <CTRL>+<ENTER> work as expected, but I am assigning <SHFT>+<ENTER> "rest" and <SHFT>+<CTRL>+<ENTER> to "bar line".

Rather than dedicate 6 keys to note values (as the program does), I labeled one key "3|." (period) and flanked it with the "-" and "+" functions.  (Pressing <SHIFT>+"3-Dot" cycles through dot/double-dot/no-dot.)  Common note values are thus a maximum of three key presses of adjacent keys.

The top row is dedicated to to articulation and the second row to dynamics.  

A little background: I am a cellist (who also plays a little piano) and the idea of turning a keypad into a musical instrument has always appealed to me.  The functionality above is based on the assurances of the tech staff at Fentek Industries (I am waiting for delivery) that the N-key roll-over will work as billed: E.G "shifting" flat will toggle double flat

I have attached a keyboard diagram.  As I have not yet made the final selection, please feel to comment.  NB NCRB = "Note | Rest | Chord | Bar (line)"


Re: Using a Programmable Keypad (was: "Remapping Numeric Keypad")

Reply #4
Hi Omar,

While I don't see myself wanting to change from what I'm used to and prefer, your idea sounds interesting.  I have a couple of questions you might want to work through if you think others will want to adopt your idea.

  • My numeric keypad only has 17 keys, and they are not placed at all like the ones in your keyboard map.  Your keyboard map shows 21 keys, but you say there are 24.
  • Does a user need to buy the Fentek keypad to use your macros?  If so, where from and how much does it cost?  If not, what are the hardware needs?
  • You show how to insert p and pp dynamics.  Can your system also do ppp?
  • Does the insert dynamic function avoid collisions between dynamic marking and notes below the staff?
  • Is the key in the upper left corner a slur or tie?  NWC needs both.
  • You have two keys with periods on them, and you have two with minus signs that may be tenuto/legato lines.
  • Will your keypad handle articulations that use two symbols?  For instance a staccatto dot may be combined with either a legato or marcato
  • Any provision for clefs, time signatures, key signatures?
  • While you have explained note augmentation, what about note values themselves (quavers, semiquavers, etc.) and vertical placement (pitch).
  • Can the keyboard be used for other things such as bar lines, repeats, special endings, etc.?
  • Do you see this functioning as a way to input music notation into NWC, or as an alternative, to say, an electronic keyboard for making live music?

Re: Using a Programmable Keypad (was: "Remapping Numeric Keypad")

Reply #5
David, to answer your questions in order:

1) I purchased  USB Programmable Keypad from Fentek Industies  (

2)  Yes.  The cost is $85 + shipping and applicable sales tax

3)  No.  My idea was to use the KeyPad is to supplement and not replace regular keyboard/MIDI_Instrument note entry.  Starting with 24 keys: One is dedicated to "shift" (in the LLHC) and two are configured as "double keys".   There are therefore 42 possible commands (21 * 2) available for a judicious selection of functions.  "ppp" and "fff", being the most infrequently encountered dynamics, must be entered from a regular keyboard.  The "payoff" is after learning  "22-key by touch",  you don't have to look away from the score/screen when composing/arranging-transcribing.

4)  Pressing one of the dynamic keys will place that dynamic 3 spaces above the lower boundary of its respective staff.  (Care must be taken when manually inserting a dynamic to always exit the Dialog Box with the "Dynamic" tab having focus and the "Alignment Placement" control set to "at next note bar".)

***Suggestion for improving Noteworthy*** Avoid having multiple commands (in the same spinner control) that begin with the same letter

5)  The ULHC key is now configured as Slur/Tie depending on whether "2nd Level" is selected.

6)  To avoid confusion, key 2 ("rastering" from the ULHC) is now labeled "Ten/Stacc".  In the revised keyboard diagram (attached) all "2nd Level macros" are printed above the primary level function

7)  Yes, Articulations toggle on/off just as with keyboard entry.

8)  No.  Again, I am using the ControlPad (Fentek's name for the keyboard) in conjunction with a regular keyboard.

9)  Pressing 3 [dot/double dot] selects a quarter note.  The "minus" and "plus" augment/decrement the NoteValue, respectively.  UPDATE: Would changing the minus/plus key legends to a [whole note followed by a left-pointing arrow] and a [right-pointing arrow followed by a 64th note] respectively improve clarity?

10)  There are now only two double keys Note/Rest and Chord(note)/Bar Line just above it.  Use 2nd Level Toggle (the LLHC, or "key 21" in the documentation's nomenclature) to insert a Rest and Bar Line

11)   I designed the macros specifically to work with Noteworthy.  I have attached the  ControlPad Key Definition file (Noteworthy_1.txt) that contains the macros corresponding to the JPEG keyboard diagram.  You will have to change the extension back to *.ckd before it can be loaded into the application that flashes the keyboard

NB: The short arrows move the insertion point one note.  The long arrows, one measure.  The crosshatched double arrows select one note/measure respectively.  The up/down arrows flanking the "Note/Rest" key behave as expected.  8vo/8va shift down/up one octave.

I know it's a lot of money to spend on a "pig in a poke".  I'll post updates/revisions here as the "most intuitive" key configuration evolves.


Re: Using a Programmable Keypad (was: "Remapping Numeric Keypad")

Reply #6
Thanks.  Best of luck, eh?