About This Website
This site is about keyboard music. It presents the results of several decades of research and development relating to making keyboard music easier to learn and easier to read.
The main results of these development efforts are:
1) A music notation system (key maps) that is much easier to learn and read than traditional notation.
2) Innovative keyboard instructional materials based on this notation.
3) Reader's Versions of traditional notation on the grand staff that are much easier to read than the standard notation, but compatible with it, and
4) Several thousand pages of easier to read sheet music based on these notations.
You will find on this site: 1) an explanation of the music notation systems and how they work, 2) downloadable free access to the whole instructional series with exercises and graded music, and downloadable free access to the entire library of sheet music that we have developed using these new and modified notations.
Our key map notation differs from traditional notation. Its notes graphically show the movements of the fingers as they play the keys on the keyboard. The notes progress in time from the top to the bottom of the page as they move left and right in sync with the movements of the fingers playing the keys. This notation is simple, logical, beautifully proportional and is relatively (much) easier to read than the traditional notation. It enables people to start playing the keyboard BEFORE learning to read traditional notation. It is a supplement to traditional notation specifically designed for the keyboard.
Key Maps provide a great foundation for those wanting to continue their musical education by learning to read and play from Traditional Notation. To that end we have developed our Reader's Versions of traditional notation. These versions make the process of learning to read traditional notation less difficult (versions RT-1 and RT-2). We also provide a version of traditional notation for experienced players that is less difficult to read (version RT-3). These versions all provide, in a more readable form, information that is found in traditional notation only in a coded format (key signatures, note names, and rhythm). Together, our key maps and reader's versions provide an easier and less stressful way of learning to play the keyboard, and ultimately, learning to read and play from traditional notation.
All of these materials are available for download without charge. The mapped notation is called "keyboard maps" because the notation looks like a map of the keyboard, showing where to place your fingers. For short, we often refer to the keyboard maps as "key maps" or "kmaps."Also for short, you can return to this website with: kmaps.com.
All materials are protected by copyright, but are freely available under our Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivatives license. Link: CC License
A good way of finding your way around and of getting acquainted with this website is to go to our Directory where you will find links to the many resources available. Link: Directory
You may also want to review the About MIW page which provides a detailed overview of this site with links to all of the resources available.
Getting Started With Key Maps
If you already know how to read traditional notation, and you'd like to know more about key maps before moving on to the rest of the site, I'm inviting you to continue reading for more information on how key maps work.
The pages that you see below are from our Unit AKM-16. (If you want a copy, you can click on the link at the bottom of this page, headed AKM-16. The pages will appear in a Google viewer from which you can print or download them.)
John M. Honeycutt, CEO
AKM-16 How to Read Key Maps - Introduction
The Notation of Pitch on Key Maps
The Notation of Flats and Sharps
The above video shows some of the keyboard diagrams that help beginning students figure out the connection between the notes on the diagrams of the keyboard and the keys that they point to directly under them. One diagram is shown in place directly on the keyboard. The others are on the music rack awaiting their turn at the keyboard. These diagrams are greatly enlarged so that the notes will be directly over the keys that are to be played.
As students become familiar with the keyboard and understand how the vertical lines show where the black keys are, with the white keys between them, the diagrams are gradually changed until they take on the look of key maps, as shown below.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on a Full Range Key Map
About the Coloring of Notes
Beginning students are shown the keyboard with cards separating the octave groups to help them see the simplicity of the octave groups and sense the "look" of each of these groups. We point out that the big monster keyboard that they see at the piano is really only seven little pianos put together in a group for them to play on. In a sense, you only have to learn to play on one little piano at first. Then you soon you are able to play them all. The notes that you play from in the diagrams are exactly the same for each octave group. In an octave group there are only 12 different notes to learn. All of the other octave groups use the same notes, except for the colors in the background.
Rhythm and Meter on Key Maps
Additional Information About Key Maps
Naming Conventions for the Duration of Notes - Beats
Aesthetics -- Proportionality in Pitch
Aesthetics - Proportionality in Rhythm Notation
After viewing one of the units below (AKM-16, etc.), to get back to this page, you click the back arrow in the upper left corner of your browser . If you click the x at the upper right corner of your browser, you will NOT be returned to this site!