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Publication numberUS1958227 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 8, 1934
Filing dateFeb 9, 1933
Priority dateFeb 9, 1933
Publication numberUS 1958227 A, US 1958227A, US-A-1958227, US1958227 A, US1958227A
InventorsBarnett David
Original AssigneeBarnett David
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pianoforte keyboard
US 1958227 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

M y 1934. D. BARNETT 1,958,227

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII RD Patented May 8, 1934 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE Application February 9, 1933, Serial No. 655,900

4 Claims.

The pianoforte keyboard, as it is constructed at present, possesses certain disadvantages in the arrangement of the keys which interfere with iiuent and accurate performance. The ordinary keyboard consists of white and black keys in two levels, the block keys being arranged in series of two and three keys per octave over the entire keyboard.

In the present construction of the keyboard the black keys are made narrower than the white keys and thus a smaller surface is provided for striking the black keys than the white keys.

Furthermore, the part of the white keys, which lies between the black keys, has a smaller striking surface than the part of the white keys at the front of the keyboard.

The present construction of the keyboard groups the black keys in two and threes per octave, and, since there seven white keys per octave, the diagonal distance from the striking surface of the black keys to that of the white keys and vice versa varies in accordance with the relative position of the keys in the keyboard. Thus, for example, the diagonal distance from the point where the strikes At to the point where the finger strikes B is less than the diagonal distance between similar striking points on F3 and G.

Finally, although Lt and Bi occur as frequently in certain scales as the black keys, no adequate provision for this freq iency of occurrence is made in the present construction of the keyboard. For example, in the scale of Ct major, although the first two notes of the scale are black keys, Ci and Di, the third note of the scale, must be played upon the white key F at the front of the keyboard and F being the same pitch) hese structural defects in the keys over the entire keyboard and in their arrangement on the present keyboard offer resistance and hindrance to fluent an facile pianoforte performance.

The reduced striking surface on the black keys as compared with that of the white keys is conducive to insecurity when attacking or striking the black keys, and therefore leads to inaccuracy,

lack of control of tone and general hesitancy in performance.

The reduced striking surface of that portion of the white keys, which lies between the black keys, as compared with the striking surface at the front of the keyboard, inhibits fluency, quietude and control in performance, particularly when the thumb rests on the black keys and the other fingers are, therefore, compelled to strike the white keys on their narrower portion. This hindrance to fluent performance is increased when the fingers are by nature too wide to strike comfortably the narrow surface of the white keys located between the black keys.

The varyirn diagonal distances between the striking points of adjacent whte and black keys necessitates adjustment of the mind to a variety of extension distances for the fingers, so that the fingers, when playing adjacent white and black keys, must be spread apart to varying extents, even though the difference in pitch between adjacent white and black keys is always the sam The inadequate provision made by the present keyboard for the frequency in occurrence of Eli and Bi necessitates frequent and inconvenient shifting from front to rear of the keyboard in the idst of musical passages, particularly whenever the scale changes from one having a predominance of white keys to one having a predominance of black keys.

By the term enharmonic pianoforte keyboard I mean a keyboard in which the keys are arranged in such manner that full advantage is taken of the situation created by the present system of tuning all instruments, namely, the so-called Well-tempered or equally-tempered scale whereby notes having difierent names and different places in the scales possess the same pitch, as for example, G1) and or Ab and Gt. Moreover, the identity of pitch between E and F and Bi and C, occasioned by the system of tuning by equal temperament, is of great importance in the arrangement of the keys on the enharmonic pianoforte keyboard. My new design of the keyboard does not add any notes to the scale nor keys to the keyboard but provides for extensions and widening of the existing keys, as hereinafter described.

By the term enharmonic pianoforte keyboard I likewise mean a keyboard in which there are three levels of keys in place of the present two levels. The first level is the level of the white keys and co responds to the same level of white keys on the present keyboard. The second level is the level of black keys and contains beside the black keys, which correspond to those on the present keyboard, additional enharmonic keys constructed to be integral with the corresponding white keys of the first level, or, as I call them, grey" keys. An enharmonic key is located in the new keyboard between every two and three black keys. Thus, the second level of keys consists of two black keys, an enharmonic key, three black keys, an enharmonic key, two black keys and so on over the entire keyboard. These enharmonic keys are Et integral with the white key F, and Bi integral with the white key C. The third level comprises elevated portions of the white keys integral with the corresponding white keys of the first level and rising above the level of the black keys.

Accordingly, the object of my invention is to make pianoforte technique less subject to the dimculties arising from the present construction of the pianoforte keyboard.

Another object of my invention is to attain greater security, accuracy and control of tone in performing on the pianoforte.

Another object of my invention is to obtain greater fluency of pianoforte performance.

Another object of my invention is to avoid the necessity for adjusting extension or stretching of the fingers in playing simultaneously or consecutively adjacent black and white keys.

, Another object of my invention is to eiiect easy transition from the black to the white keys or vice versa and therefore to eiiect easy transition from scales having a predominance of black keys to those having a predominance of white keys.

Another object of my invention is to provide for uniform fingering applicable to all scales.

Another object of my invention is to provide for the same fingering for all similar musical formulae or patterns in a composition.

I overcome all aforementioned hindrances to fluent and accurate performance on the pianoforte and attain the aforementioned objects by the use of three levels of keys in the keyboard,

, by widening the black keys and by the introduction of enharmonic keys.

In order that this invention may be clear to one skilled in the art, I will herewith describe in detail my preferred method of constructing the f keys of this new pianoforte keyboard with the distinct understanding that it is only one of the ways in which this invention can be carried out and that my invention is not limited to this preferred method of construction.

The accompanying drawing shows the construction of the keyboard and of the various keys of the enharrnonic pianoforte keyboard.

'Figure 1 is a perspective View of one octave of the keyboard showing the arrangement of the various keys thereof.

"Figure 2 is a plan view of the construction of white keys D, G and A.

igure 3 is a side view of the construction white keys D, E, G, A and B. I

Figure 4 is a plan view of the construction of white keys E and E.

Figure 5 is a plan view of the construction enharmonic keys Et (F) and Bit (C).

Figure 6 is a side view of the construction enharmonic keys Eli (F) and Bi (C).

, Figure 7 is an end view of the construction enharmonic keys Et (F) and Bi (C).

Figure 8 is a plan view of the construction black keys Ct and Figure 9 is a side view of the construction black keys or, or, Ft, or and At.

Figure 10 is a plan view of the construction of black keys Di, Gt and At. I

Figure 11 is an end viewof the construction of black keys Ct and Ft.

Figure 12 is an end view of the construction of black keys Di, Gt and At.

Figure 1 shows clearly the three level arrangements of the keys of the new enharmonic keyboard. The lowest level of keys comprises the white keys, namely, G, D, E, F, G, A, B and C. These are the same as the white keys on the present keyboard. The second level of the keys on the new enharmonie keyboard comprises the black keys and the enharmonic keys. The black keys are Ct, Dt, Ft, Gt and At. These five black keys also appear on the present keyboard. In addition thereto, this level of black keys includes two enharmonic keys, Et and Bi. Et is an extension of the white key integral therewith and located between black keys Di and Ft. Bt is an extension of the white key C, integral therewith and located between black keys At and Ct. These enharmcnic keys are also known as grey keys. The third and last level of keys on the enharmonic keyboard comprises elevated portions of the white keys D, E, G, A and B, the elevated portions being integral with the corresponding White keys and being designated as D, E, G, A and B.

As far as the colors of the various keys are concerned, the white and'the black keys remain colored as on the present keyboard. The elevated or extended portions of the enharmonic key are, however, preferably colored grey, the front or lower portion remaining white. The enharmonic keys may be colored or distinguished in any other suitable manner. leave them white, to engrave their surface or to insert small spots of ivory or other suitable material in order to distinguish them from the black keys. These details, however, are of no special consequence in this invention and the method of distinguishing the enharmonic from the black keys may be selected according to its suitability.

It is likewise seen from Figure 1 that the width of the white keys remains the same as that of the white keys on the present keyboard. The width of the black keys has, however, been increased and the width of the enharmonie keys has been made the same as that of the widened black keys. The width of the elevated portion of the white keys, designated D, E, G, A and B, is approximately the same as the width of the black keys on the present pianoforte keyboard, or half of the new width of the black keys. The relation of the three levels of the new enharmonic keyboard is as follows:

The black and. enharmonic keys are raised above the white keys by the same height that the black keys of the present keyboard are raised above the white keys thereof. Likewise, the level of the elevated portions of the white keys, designated D, E, G, A and B, is raised above the level or the black and enharmonic keys by the same height as the latter are elevated above the level of the white keys. The relative heights of these levels may be selected at will.

It is understood that Figure 1 merely represents one octave of the new pianoforte keyboard and that the keys of the remaining octaves are constructed and arranged exactly in the same manner.

Thus, the principal differences between the new enharmonic keyboard and the present keyboard are: first, the inclusion of two enharmonic keys, integral with the corresponding white keys, among the black keys; secondly, the elevation of portions of certain white keys, as explained, above the level of the black keys; and, thirdly, the increased width of the black keys.

Figure 3 is a side view and Figures 2 and 4 are plan views of the white keys on the enharmonic pianoforte keyboard. It is seen that there are two plan views and only one side view, these be- Thus, it may be desirable to ing necessitated by differences in the location of the narrowed portion of the white key which underlies the black key and which extends from the wider front portion of the white key to the hammer. There are three locations of this narrowed portion of the white key; first, at one side, second, in themiddle and third, at the opposite side relative to the wide front portions. This underlying portion is, as at present, about one-half the width of the front or striking portion of the white key and conveys the force of the fingers blow on the front portion of the inner mechanism or hammers of the pianoforte. The place at which this underlying portion meets the front of the white key differs according to its position in the octave and according to its relation to adjacent black keys.

Thus, the plan view, Figure 2, refers to the construction of white keys D, G and A, and the plan view, Figure 4, refers to the construction of white keys E and B. According to the drawing, (1) is the striking surfaceof the white key at the front of the keyboard and equals in width the white keys of the present keyboard. (2) is a cleft made in the key to allow for the position of a pin which prevents undue lateral motion of the key. This is common practice in pianoforte key construction. The white key is incised at (3) to form a neck so that clearance is provided for the increased striking surface of the black and enharmonic keys. Otherwise, depression of the black or enharnionic keys would simultaneously depress the white keys. The extent of this incision is preferably approximately one-half the thickness of the white keys of the present keyboard. To overcome the decrease in strength and solidity of the key caused by this incision, a strengthening metal plate (4) is aflixed below the neck and extends a short distance beyond the depth of the incision. (By depth of the key in the keyboard, I mean the distance measured in the direction from the front of the key to the foreboard (8) of the piano.) The elevated portion of the white key is shown at (5). This portion isdesignated as D, E, G, A, and B in Figure 1. It is preferably bevelled like the black keys of the present keyboard and its striking surface (5) is the same in width as that of the black keys of the present keyboard, namely, onehalf the width of the striking surface (1 This width may be increased or decreased as desired. The depth of the striking surface (5) is preferably one and three-quarter inches but it may be increased or decreased as desired. These elevated portions of the white keys are preferably white but may be colored or externally identified in any manner.

Figure 9 is a side View of the black keys. Figures 8 and 10 are plan views of the black keys and Figures 11 and 12 are end views of the black keys. The upper, visible portion of the black keys, as assembled on the keyboard, is widened so that the new width of the striking surface of the black keys is now equal to the width of the front portion of the white keys. Thus, the striking surface of the black keys overhangs the lower, unseen portion (as viewed on the assembled keyboard and as indicated in Figures 8 and 10 by the dotted lines) either on both sides or on one side only. This double design of the black keys is necessitated by their position in the keyboard and allows for the adjacent white keys and preserves the same width of the octave as exists on the present keyboard. The black keys are accordingly arranged on the keyboard staggered with respect to the front portions of the white keys and each black key is located thereon exactly centered between two adjacent white keys, irrespective of whether the widened striking surface of the black keys overhangs on one side or on two sides its underlying narrower portion. The width of the black keys on the new enharmonic keyboard is preferably the maximum width that can be accommodated within the present octave. This width may be made less, but then, striking surface is sacrificed. It is likewise seen that at that portion of the black keys nearest the foreboard (8) and adjacent to the elevated portons of the white keys, the black key is not widened, but rests squarely on the normally unseen or underlying portion, the position of which is determined by the location of the key in the octave. Hence, the black keys are cut out, near the foreboard (8), on one or both sides. These incised portions of the black keys thereby accommodate the elevated portions of the white keys and provide for their position in the octave. These structural details are shown in Figures 8 and 10. Figure 8 referring to the construction of black keys Ct and F3 and Figure 10 referring to the construction of black keys Dii, Gt and At. The striking surface of the black key is designated (6). It is preferably seven-eighths of an inch in width. Its depth is preferably two inches. ('7) designates the portion of the black key which lies between the elevated portions of the White keys and which rests squarely on the underlying portions of the black keys. Its width and depth are, therefore, preferably the same as the width and depth of the adjacent elevated portions of the white key, namely, approximately one-half inch and one and three-quarters inches, respectively.

Figure 5 is a plan view, Figure 6 is a side view and Figure '7 is an end view of the enharmonic keys Et (F) and Bi (C). It will be noticed that these are combination white and grey keys and that they are made on the new enharmonic keyboard with two portions of different levels, one, the white, being common with the level of the White keys C, D, E, F, G, A, B and C and the other, the grey portion, being common with the level ofthe black keys. The front or white striking surfaces of the enharmonic key is shown at (9). The raised or grey striking surface of the enharmonic key is shown at (10). The depth of striking surface (9) is preferably two inches. The depth of striking surface (10) is likewise preferably two inches. It will be seen that the width of the striking surface (10) is the same as that of the striking surface (9), namely, seveneights of an inch and, therefore, that surface (10) overhangs its underlying portion in the same manner as described for the black keys. The extent to which this surface overhangs is determined by the fact that one side or extremity coincides with the exact center of striking surface (9) and the other with the exact center of the adjacent white key at its left. The remainder of the elevated or grey portion of the enharmonic key is indicated at (11) and rests squarely on its underlying portion. Hence, the enharmonic keys are cut out, near theforeboard (8) on one side, in the same manner as that of the black keys. The elevated portions'of the white keys, namely, D', E, G, A and B are thereby accommodated in the same manner as the black keys accommodate them and are thereby given their position in the octave.

The operation of the enharmonic pianoforte keyboard overcomes the abovementioned disadvantages of the present keyboard as follows:

The increased width of the black keys provides a security of attack and control of tone equal to that obtainable upon the white keys and eliminates the consequences, conducive to faulty technique, of placing the thumb on a surface much less in width than the thickness of the thumb or'of striking a narrow surface with the full impetus of the entire forearm or arm.

The presence of three levels of keys eliminates the necessity of playing the other fingers on a level lower than that of the thumb (as when on the present keyboard the thumb is on a black key and the other fingers must play white keys).

'Such a hand position is unnatural and produces strain and inaccuracy since it is contrary to the normal anatomy of the hand in which the thumb extends from the base of the wrist and is lower on the hand than the fingers'which extend from the knuckles. By the arrangement of the black keys and the enharmcnic keys with their striking surfaces in a common plane and in close equi-distantly spaced relationship from each other, and said striking surfaces each having a width equal to the width of the front striking surfaces of the white keys, greater ease and facility in playing with a' minimum stretch of fingers is possible, so that the striking of false notes even in the most rapid execution of a musical composition will be practically obviated. The raised rear end portions providing the finger striking surfaces 5 for the white keys, enables easy transposition of the fingers to these surfaces from the intermediiate level of the striking surfaces of the black and enharmonic keys.

Since in the enharmonic keyboard the black keys are equally distant from each other, the white keys are likewise equally distant from each other, and the black keys are equidistant diagonally from the white, only one adjustment of extension distance is nccessary for all equivalent pitch differences. In this way, the stretch of the fingers required to play Fit and G simultaneou ly or consecutively is equivalent to that necessary to play G and Gt, and A, etc.

The presence of the enharmonic keys provides an easy and advantageous transfer from the level of the black keys to that of the white since they are contained in both levels. Their presence likewise makes it possible to play in the scale of C major in two separate and distinct places on the keyboard. (This is impossible on the present keyboard.) Thus, a link is provided between scales using black keys predominantly and those using white keys predominantly, insuring greater quietude and ease of hand position.

The presence of the enharmonic keys and the increased width of the black keys provide a suitable and practical basis for using a uniform fingering on all scales. On the present keyboard, for example, although scales commencing on a white key are played beginning with the thumb, all scales which commence on a black key are played beginning with the second or third finger,

On the new enharmonic keyboard all scales commence with the thumb and are, therefore, uniform in fingering. Likewise, a uniform fingering is made possible for all musical formulae of the same pattern though of different pitch. Thus, a tune may be played in anymusical key or tonality without change of fingering. Transposition of tonality is, therefore, greatly facilitated.

While the foregoing description refers to my preferred method of carrying out my invention as applied to the present diatonic or tuning system consisting of tones pitched a half-step or wholestep apart, it may also be applied to systems based upon other units of pitch, such as quartertones, etc.

While this invention has been described as pertaining to the pianoforte keyboard it can also be applied to keyboards of other instruments, such as the organ, the accordion, etc.

Having described my invention in full detail, I herewith claim as follows:

1. An enharmonic pianoforte keyboard, comprising three rows of keys disposed respectively at three different levels, said first row of keys comprising white keys with certain thereof having intermediate striking surfaces disposed in the intermediate row of keys and with other of said white keys having rear striking surfaces disposed in the third row of keys, said second row of keys comprising groups of two and three alternately spaced black keys and with the intermediate striking portions of the white keys in the spaces between said groups.

2. An enharmonic pianoforte keyboard, comprising three rows of keys disposed respectively at different levels, the first row of keys comprising white keys havi' g forward striking surfaces, the second row of keys comprising spaced groups of two and three black keys and with intermediate striking surfaces on certain of said white keys in the spaces between said groups, and the third row of keys comprising rear striking surfaces of the remaining white keys.

3. An enharinonic pianoforte keyboard, com.- prising three rows of keys disposed at difierent levels, the lower row of keys comprising white keys all having forward striking surfaces, certain of the white keys having intermediate striking surfaces in the second row of keys and the remaining white keys having rear striking surfaces disposed in the third row of keys, said second row of keys also including groups of two and three black keys disposed between the inter.- mediate striking surfaces of said white keys, the striln'ng surfaces of the lower and second rows being of substantially the same width.

4. An enharmonic pianoforte keyboard, comprising three rows of keys disposed at different levels, the lower row of keys comprising white keys at the front of the keyboard, certain of said white keys having intermediate striking surfaces at the elevation and in line with the second row of keys, other of said white keys having rear striking surfaces disposed at the elevation and in line with the third row of keys and rearwardly of the intermediate row of keys, said second or intermediate row of keys also having groups of two and three black keys disposed between the intermediate striking surfaces of said white keys.

DAVID BARNETT.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2557690 *Apr 5, 1950Jun 19, 1951John H ReutherPiano keyboard
US2559276 *May 9, 1947Jul 3, 1951Rollin E CampbellPhotoelectric musical instrument
US2844065 *Sep 13, 1952Jul 22, 1958Baldwin Piano CoKey and keyboard construction
US3200689 *Apr 2, 1964Aug 17, 1965Paul S RosbergerKeyboard
US4227436 *Nov 20, 1974Oct 14, 1980Kryzanowsky Dmytro MMusical instrument keyboard
US4628792 *May 24, 1985Dec 16, 1986Keast Lawrence JModified musical instrument keyboard
US4926734 *Aug 25, 1988May 22, 1990Rickey James CGraphic/tactile musical keyboard and nomographic music notation
US5404788 *Jun 18, 1992Apr 11, 1995Frix; Grace J.Musical instrument with keyboard
US6566593 *Nov 6, 2001May 20, 2003S. Roy PertchikMusical keyboard with a sequenced markings
US20060156904 *Nov 3, 2005Jul 20, 2006Gabert David ECubichord
US20080087160 *Dec 3, 2007Apr 17, 2008Gabert David EMethod and apparatus for teaching music and for recognizing chords and intervals
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/423.00R, 84/423.00A
Cooperative ClassificationG10C3/12
European ClassificationG10C3/12