After the 15th century nearly all the makers of key-stringed instruments used the chromatic scale practically as we find it in the modern piano. The semitones in most of those old instruments are elevated and of a different color than the full tones. Since the development of the piano many experiments have been made with so-called “chromatic” keyboards, in which the semitones were on a level with the full tones. A Dr. Krause of Eisenberg constructed a keyboard in 1811, in which the semitones were not raised and all keys were of the same color. About 1789, Neuhaus, a piano maker of Vienna, constructed a concave-formed keyboard for his pianos. He aimed to follow the inclination of the human arm to move in a semicircle.
As you can see, the modern keyboard has gone through many changes, however, the basic concept of the key lay-out has been fairly consistent. This is a result of the order in which the whole tones and semi-tones are arranged, and has evolved over centuries.
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