Typing As Music

In a piece for the New Yorker, David Owen writes about the world of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts in the context of his own history and love of keyboards.

Typing is rhythmic, complicated, and soothing, and, when I’m doing it well, my conscious brain doesn’t seem to be involved. It’s as close as I’ll ever come to playing a musical instrument—a nontrivial attraction. My love of typing probably contributed to my decision to become a writer.

As someone who was happy with the chiclet keys on the Apple keyboard, I didn’t think I’d ever go with a mechanical unit. After getting one, though, I can understand the cult fandom around these things — at least a bit. I’ll never pay thousands of dollars for a set of key caps. I do enjoy typing on this thing, though, and that allows me to write more. As a school-trained touch typist, I can also type faster with my Keychron. The Magic Keyboard feels a bit strange to my fingertips now.

I took a brother typewriter to college with me. It’s nice to bring back some of those typing sensations without having to worry about how difficult it is to correct mistakes.

The Obsessive Pleasures of Mechanical-Keyboard Tinkerers

Photo of a Brother typewriter by Laura RiveraPhoto of a Brother typewriter by Laura Rivera

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