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Publication numberUS2542532 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 20, 1951
Filing dateMar 11, 1946
Priority dateMar 11, 1946
Publication numberUS 2542532 A, US 2542532A, US-A-2542532, US2542532 A, US2542532A
InventorsHarold A Jewett, Nelson J Jewett
Original AssigneeHarold A Jewett, Nelson J Jewett
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Musical instrument keyboard
US 2542532 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1951 H. A. JEWETT ET AL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT KEYBOARD 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 11, 1946 Alson JJeweil zmd ae q Arron/mm Feb. 20, 1951 H. A. J EWETT ET AL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT KEYBOARD 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 11, 1946 I //v VE/Y TOES fidmldAflwellb fldswaltleweii Patented Feb. 20, 1951 MUSICAL INSTRUMENT KEYBOARD Harold A. J ewett, Washington, D. 6., and Nelson J. J ewett, Arlington County, Va.

Application March 11, 1946, Serial No. 653,618

The invention relates to-*keyed musical instruments of the type which are manually operated from a piano or pipe organ type of keyboard or keyboards.

It is an object of the invention to improve the capability of the instrument to respond to the desires of a musician in regard to musical expression.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an organ consolehaving a plurality of banks of keys, or manuals, or .claviers, hereinafter called manuals, ina novelarrangement to enable their joint use; v 1 f As is wel known, themajor portion of organ pipesvare vdesigned'tosiinulate each some symphonic musical instrument. each instrument corresponding to a rank of pipes is :played'by a separate person and hence may play a definite portion or phras unmixed with other instruments.

The organist can treat one rank of pipes in this'manner byplayingits notes on one manual while playing an accompaniment with the other jhand on another. manual, but pure tones from more than one rank of pipes cannot be had with an accompaniment as for instance a wind and string duet with the equivalent of orchestralac- 'companiment. This is true because at any time when two or more stops are drawn for the same manual each key depressed will sound all the pipes for that key corresponding to those stops, thus producing a unison; composite or even muddyei'lect as compared'with a single or 'pure tone. 1

In the usual oonsolewith plural manuals it is possible to play some'note'son one manual with the thumb and'on another manual with the little linger,- but two manual manipulations with one hand cannot go much .beyond this. As contrasted with the prior art, the plurality 4 Claims. (Cl.- 84424) ment with the left hand, utilizing 16 foot bourdon onthe manual for the left hand, both the bass and the-tenor will get the bourdon tone. Using the present invention the pianist may play the bourdon on one manual for bass, and the tenor on an adjacent manual both with thelef t In the orchestra t of manuals of the.present invention are so con= istruct'ed that. effective use of three adjacent manuals ispossible with each .hand at the same time. As an extreme example of the efiects that may be obtained, a sextet may be performed on pipes or electric tone producers simulating six different musical instruments and preserving the; purity of tone of each by reason of the fact that-no two sounding-devices would respond to any one key.

.. As a further example of new power resulting hand in the manner with which a pianist is familiar, thereby sicuring pipe organ effectsby piano technique. Furthermore a separate pipe may be chosen for each the base, tenor, alto and soprano and pure tones may be had from each. This is impossible or at least impractical with the present organ console. 6

Pursuant to the above, it is an object ofv the invention to provide anorgan console having a plurality of manuals so constructed that at least two manuals may readily be used by each hand';

and particularly that useful playing may b'e done with one hand on three manuals simultaneously. This objects, as set forth hereinafter, is achieved by the use of novel condensed spacing of a plurality of manuals composed of keys atleast some of which are of substandard dimensions ex cept astowidth. v

Other objects of the invention will appear from the following dcscription when read in conned; tion with the accompanying-drawing showing illustrative embodiments of the invention, in which: TI.

Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view of a series of ten manuals omitting the black keys; Fig. 2 is a like viewshowing a different form and showing black keys; Fig. 3 is a detail plan view of the structure of Figure 1 including black keys; I Fig. 4 is a detail plan view of a different modlfffication; I Fig. 5 is a detail plan view of thestructure of Fig. 2; Fig. 6 is a view similar to Figure" 1 of a still further form of the invention; I Fig. 7 is a detail plan view'of the structureoi' Fig.6; and I Fig. 8 is a detail plan view of a still further form of manual. Y

The arrangement of the white and black keys of the keyboard universally in use in organs, pipe and reed, and. also in the modern electric organs as well as in pianos, is standard, and is that utilized in the present invention, for obvious reasons, being familiar to musicians.v

The horizontal dimensions. of the keys are standardized at substantially seven-eighths of an inch wide by four and one-half inches long for the white keys.

The matter of standardization is referred to on the present instruments.

by William Harrison Barnes in The Contemporary American Organ, published by J. Fischer 81, Bro., New York, 1933, On page 240, where he says Keyboards should be two and, one-half inches above or below each other. A distance of four inches from the front edge of one manual to a perpendicular line touching the front edge of the one above or below is tending to become standard.

A survey of pianos manufactured during the past century reveals that the length of keys and width of white keys follows the standard set forth in the above named publication. In only a few instances are the keys less than four and onehalf inches and in nearly all the width of the white keys is substantially seven-eighths of an inch.

The latter dimension is dictated by the length of the fingers of the average hand, which is thus able to span one actave with facility. Giants could use a wider key and persons with hands noticeably smaller than average cannot play some of the music written for the piano or organ However, an instrument to be useful must be operable by the great mass of adults. This average size determines the proportional dimensions and spacing of the keys and combination of manuals according to the present invention.

To enable musicians to secure the eiiects which are the aim of the invention, it is necessary that at least two manuals may bewithin the reach of at least two digits each of one hand and is particularly desirable that a third manual be within 1 reach of the fifth digit. And in the more preferred embodiments of the invention the musical interval formed by keys simultaneously depressed by digits of one hand on the first and third manuals of a given group of three manuals is at least a white key--to white key major third, e. g. C to the E above it,,the E being the second note of the tonic triad in the key of C, or still more preferably at, least a white key-to white key fifth, e. g. C to the G above it, the G being the third note of the tonic triad in the key of C. The desirability of these especially preferred em-- bodiments is particularly manifest from the great frequency of use of the tonic chords of the signature keys of harmonized musical compositions, or, to the same effect, of the relative dominant and subdominant triads of the said keys. 1

Experiments show that maximum dimensions and, spacing to this end call for not more than substantially two inches drop between manuals in combination with a length of white keys not in excess of four inches. The length of key referred to is the projected length. or the distance from the front edge of the manual to the point where a perpendicular line dropped from the front edge of the manual above meets the surface of the keys.

A preferred form of the invention is shown in elevation in Figure 1, drawn to proportions of one-half inch drop and two and one-eighth projected length of the keys with one-eighth inch overhang providing a total length of white key of two and one-fourth inches. In this form, the

keys are allowed a depression in operation that isequal to the drop between manuals as indicated by the dot and dash line below the key at the left of Figure 1.

In the form of Fig. 6, the proportions shown are for a drop of two inches and a projected length of white keys of two and three-quarters 4 inches. The one-fourth inch overhang of this form gives an overall length of white key of three and one-fourth inches. With a suitable structure between manuals, and with this amount of drop the overhang could be somewhat increased resulting in somewhat longer white keys. Tests have shown that these are substantially the maximum dimensions usable while achieving the objects of the invention.

The substandard length keys, of three inches or less in length may offer difiiculty to many musicians at firstuse. In elevation, in Fig. 2, and in plan in Fig. 5, is shown a form that will relieve this difiiculty. In this form, the proportions shown are drawn for drops of one and onefourth inches. Groups of substandard keys ID are shown interspersed with manuals of standard keys II and I2. Inthis embodiment providing a console with ten: manuals, three manuals of substandard length keys are shown above followed by a standard manual, then twosubstandard manuals, a standard manual below the group of two, and finally three substandard key length manuals nearest the player.

A player who objectsto use of the substandard keys, has before him, in effect, a two manual instrument which he may operate in the manner with which he is familiar. Since there are at least two substandard manuals both above and below each standard manual in this form, keys of three manuals may be actuated by either hand from any position, the three including, one manual of standard keys in some'instances.

The fingers and thumb, when placednaturally on thekeys form a curved line. This factmakes the use of the substandard keys utilized in the present invention somewhat awkward in some instances. To obviate this difiiculty a form of the invention such as shown in Fig. 4 may be used. As there shown, the keys of the manuals are arranged, e. g., in arcs-of circles, the curves drawn from centers separated by distances, equal to the length of the keys. In this form shorter keys may be used with increased facility.

InFig. 8 is shown a-form of keys that may be used to reduce the overall dimensions of the keyboard. The round keys there shown may be movably mounted in any desired manner. Such keys could be used on certain manuals or a certain manual only if 1 desired. They would be quite satisfactory for percussion sounders.

The usual controls as stop switches, combination and coupling pistons and thelike may be utilized, enabling the performer to not only devote each manual to a separate sound' producer but to actuate any desired combination of sound producers, as organ pipes, fromany manual at will. Forming no part of the present invention such controls are notillustrated.

We are aware of the disclosure of Patent 426,812 granted to Hofinghofl, April 29, 1890, which discloses two manuals having white keys on one and black keys on the other of substandard length.

For the convenience of the player in identification of a wanted manual, various means of differentiating them may be provided, which identifying means may provide a striking and beautiful appearance. One such means of identification may be contrasting colors of the keys of the respective manuals. As a further or alternative means of identification the white keys may be provided with a conspicuous numeral. A numeral may be provided on each of the said keys or only at octave or fifth or third intervals as preferred.

When white keys are referred to herein and in the claims, the term is intended to indicate those keys which are used exclusively in playing the scale of C. These keys, usually longer than the black keys, may actually be provided in colors other than white as above referred to.

The invention is not limited to any particular maximum number of manuals. However, it is to be noted that the use of the substandard key manuals of the invention will enable a player to reach over a greater number of manuals to play upon the most distant one. The increased number of manuals also places at the disposal of a performer an increased possibility of presetting registrations or combinations of registrations which will then be at his command without need for operation of pistons or stop switches. For instance, the ten manuals of Figure 1 may have a different registration preset on each, resulting in ten registrations when played singly, in nine others when operated two at a time, in eight still others when operated three at a time, and so on, thus yielding many times the pre-set tonal effects which are possible with conventional instruments.

A still further advantage of the invention lies in the fact that in playing on a given manual with one hand and on a different one with the other, a given number of intervening manuals can be spanned with far greater ease, as regards the necessary reaching with the arms while maintaining bodily balance in the sitting position, than is possible in the case of conventionally spaced manuals.

It is anticipated that when a musician becomes skilled in the use of an instrument of the invention and possibly when music is written to utilize its full possibilities, music may be executed by a single performer not heretofore possible outside of an orchestra.

In the above description and in the following claims, the term projected length means the distance between the end of a white key nearest the player and th point of intersection of the playing surface of the key with a perpendicular line dropped from the end of the corresponding white key of the next manual thereabove or therebeyond; the term standard length means a white key length of playing surface of substantially four and one-half inches; the term fstandard projected length means a projected length of playing surface of a white key of substantially four inches; the term drop or difference of level between two manuals means the length of said dropped line from said point of intersection to the end of the white key from which it is dropped; the term "substandard length of a white key means a length of less than four and one-half inches; the term substandard projected length of a white key means a projected length of less than four inches; and the term substandard drop or substandard difference of level means a drop of less than two and one-half inches between manuals.

Minor changes may be made in the physical embodiments of the invention within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.

We claim:

1. A keyboard for musical instruments utilizing keys of the organ type, comprising, in combination: a plurality of at least three manuals with corresponding keys in the respective manuals in alignment; the length of the white keys of at least one of said manuals between two others thereof being less than the standard length of l inches; the white keys of another of said manuals adjacent said manual of substandardlength keys having a standard length of about 4% inches; the length of the substandard-length keys and the difference in level between said manuals being so correlated that the straight line separation of a key in one of said manuals from a key in another of said cmanuals, which two manuals are separated by said substandard key length manual and which separated keys form a major third in music, is not substantially in excess of the separation of keys in a single manual an octave apart.

2. l'he structure of claim 1 in which said keys of separated manuals, the straight line separation of which is not in excess of one octave span, form a major fifth in music.

3. The structure of claim 1 in which the white keys of at least two of said manuals, one of which is adjacent to a manual of standard length white keys, are of less length than the standard length of 4 /2 inches.

4. A keyboard for musical instruments utilizing keys of the organ type, comprising, in combination: a plurality of at least four manuals with corresponding keys in the respective manuals in alignment; the white keys of two of said manuals, which two manuals are separated by at least two intermediate manuals, are of the standard length of about 4 inches; the White keys of each of said intermediate manuals being of less length than the said standard length, the lengths of the keys of said intermediate manuals and the drop between manuals being so correlated that the linear separation of a key in either of said standard manuals from a, key inone of the intermediate manuals separated from the standard length key manual by another of the intermediate manuals, which separated keys form a major third in music, is not in excess of a span of one octave, whereby to enable the playing of harmonies on three of said manuals by the digits of one hand.


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


Patent Citations
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*DE131624C Title not available
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4198890 *Jan 4, 1978Apr 22, 1980Alito Paul NKeyboard system for musical instruments
US4658695 *Sep 17, 1985Apr 21, 1987Cutler Douglas AMulti-decked keyboard for musical instruments
EP1282111A1 *Aug 24, 2001Feb 5, 2003Tokyo Yusyo Co., LtdKeyboard for musical instrument
U.S. Classification84/424
International ClassificationG10C3/12
Cooperative ClassificationG10C3/12
European ClassificationG10C3/12