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Publication numberUS2455032 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 30, 1948
Filing dateSep 17, 1947
Priority dateSep 17, 1947
Publication numberUS 2455032 A, US 2455032A, US-A-2455032, US2455032 A, US2455032A
InventorsAlfred O Williams
Original AssigneeAlfred O Williams
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Musical instrument
US 2455032 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 30, 1948. A. o. WILLIAMS MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Sept. 17, 1947 [[[TTT ATTORNEY Patented Nov. 30, 1948 UNITED Sl'IA-YI'ES PATENT OFFICE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT;

Alfred 0., Williams, RichlandLiMich.

Application September 17, 1947, Serial-No.'77'4,'612

15. Claims. 1.

This invention relates'to improvements in a musical instrument.

The principal objects of this invention are:-

First to provide a musical instrument in'which motor driven electro-magnetic sound producing system is selectively actuated to produce music by an instrument manipulated and operated like a harmonica.

Second, to provide a harmonica-like instrument for selectively controlling v electrically produced and amplified musical tones.

Third, to provide a musical instrument which may be held inthe hands and played like a harmonica to produce musical tones from aremotely located electric amplifier system.

Fourth, to provide a musical instrument having the characteristics described. above which may be easily played and economically produced.

Other objects andadvantages relatingto the details andeconomiespithe .inventionwill be apparent from the following description and claims.

The drawings, of which, .there is one sheet, illustrate a preferred form, of my instrument.

l is a front view of my instrument with a portion of the guard case broken away to. illustrate the tone producing contacts.

Fig. 2 is a plan .view oftheinstrument- Fig. 3 is a cross sectional view along the line 3'3 of Fig. 1.

Fig. li a schematic Wiring diagram of the electrical circuit employedin my instrument and illustrates conventionally the tone producing mechanism of the instrument.

5 is a conventional fragmentary plan view of the tone producing mechanism employed with instrument.

Fig. 6 is a fragmentary cross sectional view along the line E6.in Fig. 3.

My instrument consists of a tone producing and amplified system which may be positioned remotely from the musician andpan operating or playing instrument which .is held and played by the musician and which is connected tothe tone producing mechanism by a multi-conductor electrical. cable. The playing instrument is illustrated in Figs 1, 2, 3 and 6 andconsists of a mouthpiece body '2, slide 3 and guard 4. The mouthpiece I is provided with a forwardly pro- J'ecting transversely extending lip engaging portion 5 defining apluralityof equallyspaced tone bores 6. The bores .6 are enlarged at their'rear end to form cylinders '1 arranged 'to receive the pistons 8. Each of the cylinders l is intersected by a vertically extending transverse slot 9 and 2 the-back side of the mouthpiece is provided with a generally vertical flange [0.

Each of-the pistons 8 is transversely bored as at- H (see Fig. 3)' to pass a metallic contact member or reed l2; The upper ends of the reeds".

i2 are securedto the upper-portion of the flange Hi and electrically connected together by means of a'terminal bar [3 which forms-an electrical contact common to-all of the reeds. The lower ends of the reeds l2 project downwardly through the bottom of the sl0t'9 and are positioned between opposed'pairs' of contacts Mas will be more particularly described presently.

The rear side of the flange I0 is recessed along the ends10i the cylinders 8 as at l5 and is provided-with an upwardly opening-groove l6 along the lower edge thereof-arranged to receive a matlug-flange formed on the forward side of the body member 2. The top edge of the'body member is secured to the flange l0 by-the screws l1 and the front surface of the-body member is recessed transversely as at 8 opposite the recess in the mouthpiece to form a chamber into which the rear-ends of the pistons 8 may project.

Thebottom==side of the body member 2 is provided with a rearwardly opening groove 1 9 which cooperates with thewfianged plate 20 to form a T'slot'on" the bottom-0f the body-member for slidably supporting the slide member 3. The

flange plate 2li-issecured to the body member by suitable screws 2|.

Theslidemember'il consists of an upper bar 22 having a. T-shaped crosssection slidably supported in the T slot-in the 'bodymember. The

, upper bar is secured to and supports the terminal bar. 23: along its lowerside and the'two parts of the slide-member are preferably made of. insu lating material as illustrated in 'Fig. 3. The upper surface of the terminal bar 23 carries a series of transversely.spaced-conductors 24, each of which islprovidedwith an upturned contact 25. The underside and front of. the terminal. bar carries'a series of conductors '25 which terminate incontacts Z'lpositioned oppositeuto and in longitudinallyspacedxrelationship. with the rear contacts 25 to make up the pairs of contacts referred to'above. Theconductors 24 and 26 extend to the rear-of the slidemember and are electrically connected to a series of'wires formed into acable 28.

The left endof the'slidemember'as viewed in Figs-land 'Z'Iis provided with an upwardly extending stop bar 23 and a finger button 30:?by means'of which the'slide may be moved relative to the body member -2 and mouthpiece lr The stop bar it coacts with an abutment 3] on the body member 2 and a coil spring 32 is rovided for constantly urging the slide member to the left. The right end of the slide member is provided with an upwardly flanged stop member 33 for limiting the movement of the slide toward the left under the influence oi the spring 32. The stop and abutment 39 are spaced relative to the stop bar 29 so that the slide 3 may be moved a distance equal to as distance between two adjacent pairs of contacts i l.

will be noted that there are twice as many pairs of contacts on the slide member 3 as there are tone bores and pistons on the mouthpiece l. ihe pairs of contacts M- are spaced transversely a distance equal to the distance of travel of the slide on the body member so that the reeds i2 will be positioned behind alternate pairs of contacts in one position of the slide and Will be moved to the next adjacent contacts when the slide is r ssed to the right. The reeds may be moved electrical contact with the rear contacts 25 on the slide by blowing into the tone bores E to move the pistons ii rearwardly. The reeds may be moved into contact with the forward contacts 2 by sucking or drawing on the tone bores 6.

The tone producing and amplifying mechanism associated with my playing instrument is illustrated conventionally in Figs. 4 and 5 and con-- sists of a base on which is mounted a constant speed electric motor 35. The motor is arranged to rotate the shaft 36 at a predetermined constant speed and the shaft is provided with a series of magnetic disks 3?, each disk having a plurality of lobes or projections 38 formed on the outside there .1". The projections 38 are arranged to be rotated by the shaft 36 through the gaps or a series of magnets 39 as illustrated in Fig. l. It should be understood that Fig. i is a conventional illustration by way of example only and that a great many projections are provided on each disk Each of the magnets 38 is provided with a two-part coil dc which is magnetically coupled with the magnetic field or the magnet. of each of the coils 40 is connected to a common conductor ii extending to one side of the audioamplifier illustrated conventionally at 42. The opposite side of each of the coils it! is connected by means of an individual conductor 43 to one of the contacts 25 or 2?. ihe common terminal 53 on the playing instrument is connected by a conductor 44 to the opposite side of the audioamplifier and the amplifier is arranged to drive a loudspeaker lii.

As the shaft 36 and disks 3i are rotated at a relatively high constant speed, the lobes 38 will alternately open and close the magnetic circuits of the magnets 39 causing a variation of the intensity of the magnetic fields thereof, the rate of variation being determined by the rotational speed of the shaft 36 and the number of the lobes on each of the disks. The number of lobes on each disk and the speed of the shaft 36 is designed so that each magnet and its associated disk will produce a fluctuating magnetic field, the frequency of which corresponds to a note of the musical scale. Preferably I provide a sufficient number of magnets 38 and disks 38 to produce each note of the chromatic scale. The electromagnetic mechanism thus described for producing the musical tones is of the type commonly used in some electric organs at the present time and forms no part of the present invention except in combination with the playing instrument and so has not been described in greater detail.

One side When a musician blows or draws on one of the tone bores ii, the corresponding piston is actuated to engage the reed it with one or the other of the contacts or 27 associated with that tone bore. Closing the contact with the reed l2 completes an electrical circuit through one of the coils 48 to the audio-amplifier 42 and the varying magnetic held in that magnet produces a fluctuating cur-- rent in the conductors ll and 44 which is amplified by the audio-amplifier and causes a corresponding musical tone to be emitted by the speaker 45.

In connecting the pairs of contacts i l to the tone coils through the cable 28 I prefer to connect the several contacts 25 and 2'! to appropriate tone coils so that the alternate pairs of contacts will produce the musical scale when the playing instrument is actuated like a standard harmonica. The other pairs of contacts are connected to tone coils associated with disks 3? which will produce half tones of the basic scales so that by pressing in on the button 3b the musician may obtain half or sharped notes of the basic musical scale. It should be understood that due to the arrangement of the chromatic scale in which the sharped tone of some notes are equal to other whole tones of the basic scale there will be less tone magnets and disks 3'! than there are contacts 25 and This variation is compensated for by connecting some of the conductors id to the same tone coil Ml.

The electrical connections for one octave of the instrument are as follows (see Figs. 1 and 6) Contact 4d associated with bore A is connected to a disk M to produce the note do of a selected musical scale. Contact ll associated with bore A is connected with a disk to produce re. Contact -lii is connected to a disk to produce do sharp and contact 4 8 is connected to produce re sharp. Contact Eli? associated with bore B is connected to a disk to produce note mi and contact 5! is connected to produce note fa. Contact 52 is connected to produce mi sharp which on the musical scale is the same as fa so contact 52 is connected to the same disk 3? as contact 5i and contact 53 is connected to produce fa sharp. Contact M associated with bore C is connected to produce sol and contact 55 is connected to produce la. Contact 5'5 is connected to produce sol sharp and contact ii? is connected to produce la sharp. Contact 58 is connected to a disk to produce the tone ti and contact 59 is connected to produce the tone do one octave above that produced by contact d6. Both contacts 66 and 555 are connected to produce the tone ti sharp which is the same as do and so are connected to the same disk as contact Con-- tact 62 starts a new octave with the tone do the same as contact 553 and til and 6!.

A musician. in playing my musical instrument operates the mouthpiece and slide with his mouth and hands in the same manner as a chromatic harmonica and the tones are produced by the motor driven electro-mgnetic system described. The musician may vary volume or intensity of the music produced by adjusting the audio-amplifier to the desired amount of amplification and by providing various tone control circuits in the audio-amplifier; the tone or quality of the music produced by my instrument may be varied as desired. It will be understood that the instrument may be made to include as many octaves f the musical scale as are desired, the example illustrated being arranged to play four octaves of a musical scale.

I have thus described a highly practical form of ,my instrument and have not attempted to illustrate various possible modifications thereof as it is felt that such variations and changes as may appear desirable can be made Without further description.

Having thus described my invention, what, I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. A musical instrument comprising a playing member having a mouthpiece defining a plurality of transversely spaced longitudinally extending tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores bein enlarged to form cylinders, said mouthpiece defining a transverse vertical slot intersecting said cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, said pistons being vertically apertured, contact reeds secured to said mouthpiece and extending through said slot and said apertures in said pistons to below said mouthpiece, a common terminal mem-. ber secured to said mouthpiece. and electrically connected to each of said reeds, a body member secured to the back of said mouthpiece and being recessed to form a chamber into which the rear ends of said pistons project, the bottom of said body member defining a slideway, a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts of said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will actuate said pistons to engage said reeds with one or the other of said contacts, conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils I of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system, a ccnductorconnesting said common terminal to said. amplifying system, there being two pairs or" contacts on said slide member associated with each of said bores whereby alternate pairs of contacts register with said reeds in one position of said slide member and intermediate pairs of contacts are brought into registry with said reeds by movement of said slide member on said body member, and a spring urging said slide member in one direction.

2. A musical instrument comprising a playing member having a mouthpiece defining a plurality of transversely spaced longitudinally extending tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders; said mouthpiece defining a transverse vertical slot intersectingsaid cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, said pistons being vertically apertured, contact reeds secured to said mouthpiece and extending through said slot and said aperturesin said pistons to below said mouthpiece, a common terminal member secured to said mouthpiece and electrically connected to each of said reeds, a body member secured to the back of said mouthpiece and being recessed to form a chamber into which the rear ends of said pistons project, the bottom of said body member defining a slideway, a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts of said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musicianwill actuate said pistons to engage saidreeds with one or the other of said contacts, conductors electrically connected tosaid contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone proucins andamp fyins sy te anda ondu t connecting said common terminal to said ampli fying system, there being two pairs-orcontactsonsaid slide member associated with each of said" bores whereby alternate pairs of contacts registerwith said reeds in one position of said slide memher and intermediate pairs of contacts are brought into registry with said reeds bymovement of said-slide member on said'body member.

3. A'musical instrument-comprising a playing member having a mouthpiece defining a plurality of'tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, said mouthpiece and being recessed to form a chamber into which.

the rear ends of said pistons project, the bottom of said body member defining a slideway, a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts of said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will engage said reeds with one or the other of said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the'tonecoils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system.

4. A musical instrument comprising a playing member having a mouthpiece defining a plurality of tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, said mouthpiece defining a transverse slot intersecting said cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, said pistons being vertically apertured, contact reeds secured to said mouthpiece and extending through said slot and said apertures in said pistons to below said mouthpiece, acommon electrical connection for each of said reeds, a body member secured to said mouthpiece, the bottom of said body member defininga slideway,-a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts of said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will engage said reeds with one or the other of said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing andampliiying system.

5. A musical instrument comprising a playing member defining a plurality of tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being-enlarged to form cylinders, said member defining a transverse slot intersecting said cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, said pistons being vertically apertured, contact reeds secured to said member and extending through said slot and said apertures in said pistons to below said member, a common electrical connection for each of said reeds, the bottom of said member defining a slideway, a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts I of a said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced-on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure insaid tone bores bythe musician will engage said reeds with one or the other of said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system.

6. A musical instrument comprising a playing member defining a plurality of tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, said member defining a transverse slot intersecting said cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, contact reeds secured to said memher and extending through said slot and arranged to be actuated by said pistons, a common electrical connection for each of said reeds, the bottom of said member defining a slideway, a slide member mounted in said slideway and having a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured thereto, the contacts or" said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will engage said reed with one or the other of said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system.

'7. A musical instrument comprising a playing member defining a plurality of tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, said member defining a transverse slot intersecting said cylinders, pistons positioned in said cylinders, contact reeds secured to said member and extending through said slot and arranged to be actuated by said pistons, a common electrical connection for each of said reeds, a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured to said member, the contacts of said pairs of contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will engage said reds wi h one or the other or" said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system.

8. A musical instrument comprising a playing member defining a plurality of tone bores, said member defining a transverse slot intersecting said bores, pistons positioned in said bores, contact reeds secured to said member and extending through said slot and arranged to be actuated by said pistons, a common electrical connection for each of said reeds, a plurality of transversely spaced pairs of contacts secured to said member, the contacts of said pairs or" contacts being longitudinally spaced on opposite sides of said reeds whereby variation of pressure in said tone bores by the musician will engage said reeds with one or the other of said contacts, and conductors electrically connected to said contacts and extending to the tone coils of a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system.

9. A harmonica-like playing member for actuating a motor driven e1ectro-nagnetic tone producing and amplifying system comprising a body member, a mouthpiece secured to said body member and having a plurality of forwardly opening tone bores therethrough, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, a slot extending through said mouthpiece and intersecting said cylinders, pistons disposed in said cylinders, a plurality of contact reeds secured to said mouthpiece and extending through said slot, said reeds being engageable with said pistons for movement thereby and extending below said mouthpiece, a slide member slidably secured to the bottom of said body memher and spring urged in one direction, pairs of electrical contacts carried by said slide member and spaced to the front and rear of said reeds, intermediate pairs of contacts on said slide member arranged to be brought into registry with said reeds by movement of said slide member, a common conductor extending from said reeds on said mouthpiece to said tone producing system, and a plurality of conductors extending from said contacts to the elements of said tone producing system, said plurality of conductors being arranged to actuate said tone producing system to produce the chromatic musical scale upon manipulation of said playing member like a harmonica.

10. A harmonica-like playing member for actuating a motor driven electro-magnetio tone producing and amplifying system comprising a body member, a mouthpiece secured to said body member and having a plurality of forwardly opening tone bores therethrough, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, a slot extending through said mouthpiece and intersecting said cylinders, pistons disposed in said cylinders, a plurality of contact reeds secured to said mouthpiece and extending through said slot, said reeds being engageable with said pistons for movement thereby and extending below said mouthpiece, pairs of electrical contacts carried by said member and spaced to the front and rear of said reeds, a common conductor extending from said reeds on said mouthpiece to said tone producing system, and a plurality of conductors extending from said contacts to the elements of said tone producing system, said plurality of conductors being arranged to actuate said tone producing system to produce the musical scale upon manipulation of said playing member like a harmonica.

11. A harmonica-like playing instrument for actuating a motor driven electro-magnetic tone producing and amplifying system comprising a body member having a plurality of forwardly opening tone bores, the rear ends of said tone bores being enlarged to form cylinders, a slot extending through said member and intersecting said cylinders, pistons disposed in said cylinders, a plurality of contact reeds secured to said member and extending through said slot, said reeds being engageable with said pistons for movement thereby and extending below said member, a slide member slidably secured to the bottom of said body member and spring urged in one direction, pairs of electrical contacts carried by said slide member and spaced to the front and rear of said reeds, intermediate pairs of contacts on said slide member arranged to be brought into registry with said reeds by movement of said slide member, a common conductor extending from said reeds to said tone forming mechanism, and a plurality of conductors extending from said contacts to the elements of said tone forming mechanism.

12. A harmonica-like playing instrument for actuating an electric tone producing system comprising a body member having a plurality of for wardly opening tone bores, a slot extending through said member and intersecting said bores, pistons disposed in said bores, a plurality of contact reeds secured to said member and extending through said slot, said reeds being engageable with said piston :for movement thereby and extending below said member, a slide member slidably secured to the bottom of said body member and spring urged in one direction, pairs of electrical contacts carried by said slide member and spaced to the front and rear of said reeds, intermediate pairs of contacts on said slide member arranged to be brought into registry with said reeds by movement of said slide member, a common conductor extending from said reeds to said tone forming mechanism, and a plurality of conductors extending from said contacts to the elements of said tone forming mechanism.

13. A harmonica-like playing instrument for actuating an electric tone producing system comprising a body member having a plurality of forwardly opening tone bores, pistons disposed in said bores, a plurality of contact reeds secured to said body, said reeds being engageable with said pistons for movement thereby, a slide member slideably secured to said body member and spring urged in one direction, pairs of electrical contacts carried by said slide member and spaced to the front and rear of said reeds, a common conductor extending from said reeds on said body to said tone forming mechanism, and a plurality of conductors extending from said contacts to the elements of said tone forming mechanism.

14. A musical instrument for actuating an electro-magnetic tone producing system comprising a body member defining a plurality of bores, a plurality of flexible contact members secured to said body member and extending through said bores to be flexed by variation of pressure in said bores, a common electrical conductor connecting said contact members to said tone producing system, a slide member slidably mounted being twice as many pairs of contacts on said slide member as there are bores in said body member whereby alternate pairs of contacts are in register with said flexible contacts in one position of said slide and whereby intermediate pairs of contacts on said slide are brought into registry with said flexible contacts upon movement of said slide.

15. A musical instrument for actuating an electric tone producing system comp-rising a body member defining a plurality of bores, a. plurality of flexible contact members secured to said body member and extending through said bores to be flexed by variation. of pressure in said bores, a common electrical conductor connecting said contact members to said tone producing system, a slide member slidably mounted on said body member, a plurality of pairs of fixed contacts carried on said slide member, the contact of said pairs of contacts being positioned on opposite sides of said flexible contacts and arranged to be engaged therewith by flexing of said flexible contacts, a plurality of conductors connecting the contacts of said pairs of contacts to said tone producing system, and a spring urging said slide member in one direction, there being twice as many pairs of contacts on said slide member as there are flexible contacts on said body member whereby alternate pairs of contacts are in register with said flexible contacts in one position of said slide and whereby intermediate pairs of contacts on said slide are brought into registry with said flexible contacts upon movement of said slide.

ALFRED O. WILLIAMS.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 780,862 Cameron Jan. 24, 1905 1,956,350 Hammond Apr. 24, 1934 2,301,184 Arnold Nov. 10, 1942

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US780862 *Mar 9, 1903Jan 24, 1905James A CameronPlaying attachment for musical instruments.
US1956350 *Jan 19, 1934Apr 24, 1934Hammond LaurensElectrical musical instrument
US2301184 *Jan 23, 1941Nov 10, 1942Leo F J ArnoldElectrical clarinet
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2774834 *May 24, 1955Dec 18, 1956Kenworthy Edward HBreath operated switch for musical instruments
US3056326 *Jun 11, 1958Oct 2, 1962Rene SeyboldTimbre-selector for a musical synthesizer
US3439106 *Jan 4, 1965Apr 15, 1969Gen ElectricVolume control apparatus for a singletone electronic musical instrument
US4566363 *Feb 24, 1984Jan 28, 1986Casio Computer Co., Ltd.Electronic musical instrument
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/729, 200/83.00R, 84/445, 84/DIG.140, 200/4, 200/5.00R, 200/81.90R, 984/137, 200/82.00R
International ClassificationG10D7/12
Cooperative ClassificationG10D7/123, Y10S84/14
European ClassificationG10D7/12B