Keller prefers and recommends Express Stave: Pianoforte Notation over this original version.
This is the original version of Express Stave. The basic staff consists of three lines. The middle line represents D, while the top and bottom lines represent G#/Ab. The black and white notehead color pattern corresponds to the 7-5 pattern of the piano key colors, which makes it resemble a piano tablature. Between any two adjacent lines there are five elevations at which notes can be placed. The white notes B and F each sit midway between two lines, touching neither, and may be further identified by having a center dash or spot. The remaining notes all touch a line, either ‘lightly’ or with a slight overlap. These notes are distinguished by their notehead color, and in handwritten form no distinction in vertical position is required. Keller has aligned the staff with the 7-5 keyboard pattern and its two centers of symmetry, D and G#/Ab. This gives a symmetrical pattern of black and white notes around each line. By enclosing the white key set ABCDEFG, the staff resembles the traditional bass clef, but with two lines omitted.
In this first version of his notation, Keller used the three traditonal clefs to indicate registers: bass, treble and alto clefs indicated lower A to G, higher A to G and middle A to G respectively.
Rhythm notation is the same as in traditional notation, except that half notes (minims) and whole notes (semibreves) have a short vertical line on each side of the notehead. This is visually similar to a double-whole note (breve) in traditional notation. It is necessary in order to distinguish half notes from quarter notes (crotchets) since black/solid and white/hollow noteheads are used for pitch.
For more details, see Express Stave: Pianoforte Notation.
Source: John Keller. Originally introduced as “Express Stave” in November 2005 and revised December 2007. In Keller’s original version of November 2005, the top and bottom lines representing G#/Ab were bold. A dotted line representing “middle” D was added a tritone above the staff (for a bass clef register) or below the staff (for a treble clef register). Half notes were indicated by a double stem instead of a different notehead. Keller changed his system to remove these aspects in December of 2007, partly because of the difficulty of displaying bold lines, dashed lines, or double stems in Finale software. See also 6-6 jazz font version introduced February 2009, reverse-color version introduced January 2010, and Tricolor Version introduced September 2010.