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Publication numberUS3420135 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 7, 1969
Filing dateNov 22, 1965
Priority dateNov 22, 1965
Also published asDE1294169B
Publication numberUS 3420135 A, US 3420135A, US-A-3420135, US3420135 A, US3420135A
InventorsTobin Wolf
Original AssigneeGilbert Co A C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Programmed musical instrument
US 3420135 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

T. WOLF PROGRAMMED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Nov. 22. 1965 INVEN'ITOR' Tobm WOW BY mmflawmm ATTORNE'B Jan. 7, I T- WOLF PROGRAMMED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT v Filed Nov. 22, 1965 Sheet 2 of 4 INVENTOR Tobm WO\'F ATTORNEYS Jan. 7, 1969 'r. WOLF 3,420,135

PROGRAMMED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Nov. 22, 1965 sheei' 3 of 4 INVENTOR Tobm We BY Deinw WW ATTOR NE 35 Jan. 1, 1969 T. WOLF 3,420,135

PROGRAMMED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Fil ed Nov. 22, 1965 Sheet 4 of 4 I INVENTOR Tobm WoH mi, M WW3 ATTORN Y5 United States Patent C) 3,420,135 PROGRAMMED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Tobin Wolf, Bloomfield, N..I., assignor to The A. C.

Gilbert Company, New Haven, Conn., a corporation of Maryland Filed Nov. 22, 1965, Ser. No. 508,994

US. Cl. 84-478 Int. Cl. G09!) 15/08 17 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a musical instrument and more particularly to a musical instrument of the type wherein a plurality of note indicators are energized in succession to indicate to the player the notes to be played in sequence.

The prior art has disclosed pianos and other musical instruments utilizing the above technique to teach a player to play a tune. The pianos of the prior art have utilized a key or hammer for striking the appropriate notes in accordance with instructions presented to the player by a plurality of illuminating means. The instructions for illuminating the lights were incorporated in a printed circuit tune card which was inserted into the piano such that it could be electronically scanned sequentially as a result of the depression of successive keys as the tune was played.

The printed circuit tune cards of the prior art consisted of a rectangular layer of material, such as Bakelite or similar insulating material such as plastic, which had mounted on one side a first plurality of conducting strips and on the other side a second plurality of conducting strips. The conducting strips were arranged with respect to each other on the card, such that when selected in a predetermined manner by an electrial selector switch, the notes would be illuminated in the proper sequence.

Although the prior art devices performed well, they were costly as well as difficult to produce in production quantities. The multi-conductor double-sided printed circuit tune cards were found to be much too costly for use in the competitive toy business considering that each tune to be played required a different set of instructions and, therefore, another tune card. Since the printed circuit tune cards Were so costly to fabricate, the instrument itself would be priced out of the market. Furthermore, the use of electronic scanning techniques by the prior art greatly increased the complexity of the instrument as well as the production costs of the instrument.

In view of the foregoing, a new and improved musical instrument was required. The instrument must not only be capable of playing a tune in accordance with instruc tions presented to a player, but must also be constructed such that it could be manufactured at a cost permitting it to be sold in a highly competitive market.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved musical instrument.

Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved means for receiving a new and improved tune card and then mechanically scanning it as a result of the depression of the keys of the instrument.

Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved musical instrument which utilizes a tune card having a plurality of raised areas which cause noteindicating means to be selected in a predetermined sequence.

A further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved tune card constructed solely of insulating material.

Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.

In accordance with this invention, a musical instrument is provided which includes a tune card having a plurality of program selecting means positioned in a manner to be physically sensed by the instrument to selectively energize indicating means.

In the preferred embodiment, a tune card comprising insulating material having a plurality of raised areas is positioned such that moving contact means are selectively actuated in order to energize selective indicating means. In the alternate embodiments, a tune card is providing having a plurality of conducting strips to which there is coupled a plurality of contacts spaced along the strips such that moving contact means engage the contact connected to the conducting strips to selectively energize indicating means.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a piano incorporating the features of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1 with the tune card shown dotted;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of a tune card according to the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of. FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuitry according to the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3, showing an alternate embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a top view of a portion of a tune card according to the alternate embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 11 is a view of the tune card shown in dotted line and a schematic diagram showing means for contacting the tune card according to the alternate embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective view showing a portion of a tune card according to another embodiment of the invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-7, there is shown generally a musical instrument such as a piano 20. The piano 20 comprises a plurality of sound bars 21 which are mounted on supports 22 positioned in the interior of the piano on the surface 23. In order to strike these sound bars, a plurality of hammers 24 are coupled to a plurality of keys 25 about pivot points 26. The hammers 24 and keys 25 are shown in the preferred embodiment as constructed of an integral bar, although it is to be understood that separate keys and bar may be connected in a conventional manner if desired. By manually depressing a key 25, it is pivoted in a downward direction and a hammer 24 is raised to strike the sound bar 21 to produce a tone characteristic of the sound bar struck. Positioned below the keys 25 is a plurality of individual electrical indicating means 28 which are supported by a bracket 30 mounted on the surface 23 of the piano. The indicating means 28, shown as a light bulb, has its other terminal coupled to another plate 32 also mounted in the interior of the piano. The indicating means 28 are selectively connected to a source of energy in a conventional manner through connecting means to be described. The keys 25 are preferably selected of a translucent material, such as plastic, which permits a sufiicient amount of light to be observed by the player.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown at a receptacle for receiving a tune card 41, shown in perspective in FIG. 5. The tune card 41 is comprised of a sheet of insulating material upon which there is formed a plurality of spaced apart, raised areas, dimples, or protrusions, as shown at 42 in FIG. 3. These areas are spaced about the card such that they represent a program of instructions which are used to energize selected indicator lights in order to direct a player to manually depress the keys to play a tune. The position of the areas 42 determines the notes to be played in succession and thus the melody or tune to be played by the player. The card 41 is positioned in the portion of the receptacle 40a shown in FIG. 1. The receptacle 40 also comprises a terminal board 48 of an insulating material having a plurality of spaced substantially parallel conducting strips 49 positioned on one side thereof. The number of conducting strips is related to the number of electrical indicating means 28 in such a manner that there is at least one conducting strip for each indicating means. In order to selectively provide electrical energy to the conducting strips to initiate conduction of selected ones of the electrical indicating means 28, there is provided a carriage or slider 50 which is supported so as to traverse the tune card 41 when it is positioned in the portion of the receptacle 40a. The slider 50 as shown in FIG. 6 comprises resilient wiper contacts 51 coupled at one end to the slider. The contacts 51 have irregularly shaped ends 51a for making electrical contact with the conducing strips 49 when depressed. The wiper contacts 51 generally ride in the elevated position shown in FIG. 6 until a protrusion or dimple in the tune card causes a button 53 (preferably of insulating material) to force the contact portion 51a against the conducting strip or element 49. To move the slidable contacts 51 across the tune card 41, there is provided a spring loaded escape mechanism generally shown at 60. This mechanism comprises a ratchet bar shown at 61 supported from the back of the receptacle 40. Positioned for movement along the teeth of the ratchet bar 61 is a pawl 62 comprising two pawl tips 62a and 62b. The pawl 62 is pivotally mounted on a shaft 63 and is held in position by a spring 64 wound thereon. The pawl 62 has a tip 620 which is raised by a lever 65 connected to a pivotally movable shaft 66. The

' lever 65 is rotated about shaft 66 by a plurality of pins 61 coupled to a bar 68. The pins, in turn, are moved by a plurality of members 69 which are coupled to the keys 25 in a manner such that when a key 25 is depressed the bar 69 will rotate to cause the escape mechanism shown at 60, pawl teeth 62a and 62b to be advanced one tooth. The escapement mechanism 60 is driven forward by a spring 80 mounted on a shaft 81 at one end and coupled to the pawl arrangement 62 by a shaft 82 at its other end. In order to reposition the carriage or slider after the escape mechanism has travelled toward the right side of FIG. 3, a rod 83 is coupled to the carriage 50 and is movable within a slot 85 of the receptacle 40.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is disclosed a schematic diagram of the circuitry shown for the piano of FIGS. 1-6. A plurality of batteries 88 is provided, which are coupled through a switch 89 to the plurality of contacts 51 and to the electrical indicators 28. Switch 89 is held in a closed position by the provision of a rib 90 which extends the length of the receptacle 40. It is to be understood that the rib 90 could be placed on the tune card if desired. In this manner the switch 89 and thus the battery is only connected in the circuit when the tune card is inserted in receptacle 40. Although the preferred tune card is formed solely of insulating material having integral raised areas of insulating material, an insulating material base could be used for the card if desired and there could be deposited on the card a plurality of metal raised portions which would be isolated from each other. Although the wires interconnecting the conducting mem bers 49 and the batteries 88 as well as the indicator means are not shown in FIGS. 16, it is to be understood that conventional wiring would be used in order to make these connections.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-11, there is disclosed an alternate embodiment of the invention. In the alternate embodiment, instead of the parallel conductors which form a part of the piano construction itself, parallel conductors appear on a tune card as shown in FIGS. 8, 10 and 11, respectively. The tune card 100 comprises an insulating board having mounted thereon a plurality of substantially parallel conducting members 101. Extending from these conductors is a plurality of conductor extensions 102. These extensions correspond, in effect, to the protrusions 42 of the tune card 41 except that they are constructed of conducting material. These protrusions extend into the area between adjacent conductors, but do not touch the adjacent conductor. These conductor extensions are spaced to energize the indicators 104 such that the keys of the piano may be played in the proper sequence. The receptacle for the tune card is shown generally at and includes a plurality of stationary contacts 111 for receiving the conducting strips 101. These conducting terminals 111 are coupled to the indicating means 104 as shown in FIG. 11. Also provided is a carriage or slide 114 which comprises a plurality of contact means 115 which continuously ride or slide or move along the insulated surface between the conductors 101. The contacts 115 are all coupled in series to each other and are then coupled to a battery 116 as shown in FIG. 11. Thus, as the slide 114 moves in the direction shown by the arrow in FIG. 11, the conductor extensions will make contact and thereby cause current to flow through one of the conductors 101 through the terminal 111 and then to an indicator 104 which is placed in proximity to the key of the piano in a manner to indicate to a player which key should be depressed.

As an alternative to the tune card shown in FIG. 10, there is shown in FIG. 12 a tune card which could be substituted in its place. This tune card is shown at 120 and comprises a plurality of conducting elements 121 positioned on one side of the surface of the insulating tune card. On the other side of the tune card 120 there is provided a plurality of spaced-apart metallic conductors 122 which are electrically coupled through the card to the conducting elements 121 mounted on the other side of the card. These raised metallic portions will then be sensed in a manner as disclosed with respect to FIGS. 8-11 to provide the signals to energize indicating means in the proper sequence to permit a player to play a tune. Although the card disclosed with reference to FIGS. l-7 was of the type having protrusions or dimples, it is to be understood that the techniques described herein could be applied to tune cards having spaced holes instead of raised areas. If this type of tune card were utilized, feelers could be provided to penetrate holes in the card in order to contact conductors and thus selectively energize the lights. If recesses rather than holes in the tune card were utilized, the logic of the system could be altered such that the indicators would all be turned off each time the carriage advanced except for the indicator contact which sensed a portion of the card not having a recess. Thus, a plurality of different types of indicator select means or tune cards could be utilized Without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and since certain changes may be made in the above constructions without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, a musical instrument having manual means for playing a series of notes, a plurality of electrical indicators corresponding in number to at least the number of notes of the instrument to be played, a plurality of spaced-apart indicator select means positioned about a surface with respect to each other such that their respective positions are related to a predetermined sequence of the notes of the instrument to be selected in order to play a tune, and a carriage having a plurality of means for sensing the spacial position of individual ones of said plurality of indicator select means to selectively energize individual ones of the indicators as the notes of the instrument are played by the manual means, said carriage mounted on said instrument such that that it is movable across said indicator select means.

2. A combination in accordance with claim 1, wherein said indicator select means are positioned in rows and columns about said surface, and wherein said plurality of means for sensing is positioned in a single row.

3. A musical instrument comprising in combination, a plurality of note-producing means, a plurality of indi cators, a plurality of indicator program select means positioned about a surface with respect to each other, such that their respective positions are related to the sequence of note-select means to be selected, and a carriage supporting sensing means, said carriage mounted on said instrument and adapted to move said sensing means along said surface to sense individual ones of said program select means in order to select a particular indicator corresponding to one of the notes to be played.

4. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 3, wherein said indicators are electrically actuated indicators providing luminescence and wherein said sensing means includes a plurality of sliding contact means for selectively permitting an electrical current to reach one of said indicators whenever one of said sliding contacts senses one of said indicator program select means.

5. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 4, wherein said indicator program select means comprises an insulated board having a plurality of raised areas on one side thereof.

6. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 5, wherein said raised areas are constructed of insulating material.

7. A musical instrument comprising in combination, a mechanism having note-sounding devices capable of sounding a series of keys operable to sound said musical notes respectively when struck, a movable carriage having a plurality of electrical contact means, a ratchet mounted in said instrument, an escapement mechanism coupled to said carriage and to said ratchet, means associated with said keys and said escapement mechanism for advancing the carriage along the ratchet each time a key is struck, and electrical indicating means so mounted as to indicate the respective keys, said contact means positioned to selectively energize said indicators as the carriage advances along the ratchet.

8. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 7, wherein there is at least one contact means for each note.

9. A musical instrument adapted to indicate notes to be played in succession in accord with the conformation of a plurality of regions positioned on a tune card comprising in combination, a mechanism having note-sounding devices capable of sounding a series of musical notes and a series of keys operable to sound said musical notes respectively when struck, electrical indicating means corresponding to each of the keys respectively and operable when energized to indicate the corresponding key, a terminal board having a series of conducting elements corresponding in number to at least the number of indicating means, at least some of said conducting elements connected to said indicating means, a carriage having a plurality of electrical contacts, and means for moving said carriage across the card in response to the striking of a key, said contacts positioned with respect to the card and the conductors such that the regions of the tune card may position the contacts to selectively energize the indicating means.

10. A musical instrument adapted to indicate notes to be played in succession in accord with the spacial position of a plurality of spaced-apart raised areas mounted on an insulator tune card comprising in combination, a mechanism having note-sounding devices capable of sounding a series of musical notes and a series of keys operable to sound said musical notes respectively when struck, electrical indicating means corresponding to each of the keys respectively and operable when energized to indicate the corresponding key, a terminal board having a series of conducting elements corresponding in number to at least the number of indicating means, at least some of said conducting elements connected to said indicating means, a movable carriage supported by the instrument, said carriage having a plurality of electrical contacts, and means for moving said carriage cross the card in response to the keys being struck, said contacts positioned with respect to the card and the conductors such that the contacts when engaging the raised areas of the tune card are forced against the conductors to selectively energize the indicating means.

11. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 10, wherein said means for moving said carriage comprises a ratchet bar supported by the instrument and an escape ment mechanism coupled to the carriage, said escapement mechanism actuated in response to the striking of the keys, said escapement mechanism including energy storage means positioned to move the carriage and its contacts slidably over the tune card.

12. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 10, wherein means are coupled to the carriage to return it to its initial starting position after the tune card has been scanned by said contacts.

13. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 10, wherein said contacts include a plurality of buttons for engaging the card and its raised areas to force resilient conductors against the conductors of the terminal board.

14. A musical instrument adapted to indicate notes to be played in succession in accord with the spacial position of a plurality of electrical conducting regions which are positioned on a tune card constructed of insulating material and which are selectively coupled to a plurality of spaced-apart electrical conductors mounted on the tune card, at least some the conducting regions extending into the insulating area of the tune card between electrical conductors, said instrument comprising in combination, a mechanism having note-sounding devices capable of sounding a series of musical notes and a series of keys operable to sound said musical notes respectively when struck, electrical indicating means corresponding to each of the keys respectively and operable to indicate the corresponding key, a receptacle means for receiving the tune card and having means for interconnecting the electrical conductors of the tune card to the indicating means,

a plurality of contact means supported by a carriage which is mounted in the instrument such that they are slidable against the insulating region between the conductors on the tune card when the tune card is positioned in the receptacle, and means for moving the carriage across the tune card to permit the contact means to contact the plurality of conducting regions for selectively energizing the indicating means through said conductors.

15. A musical instrument in accordance with claim 14, wherein said means for moving the contact means comprises a ratchet bar supported by the instrument and an escapement mechanism coupled to the carriage, said escapement mechanism actuated in response to the striking of the keys, said escapement mechanism including energy storage means for moving the carriage and its contacts slidably over the tune card.

16. A musical instrument adapted to indicate notes to be played in succession in accord with the spacial position of a plurality of electrical conducting areas selectively positioned on one side of an insulating tune card, said tune card having a plurality of electrical conductors mounted on the other side of the tune card, at least some of the conducting areas coupled through said card to at least some of said conductors, the instrument comprising in combination a mechanism having note-sounding devices capable of sounding a series of musical notes respectively when struck, electrical indicating means corresponding to each of the keys respectively and operable to indicate the corresponding key, a receptacle means for receiving the tune card and having means for interconnecting the conductors of the tune card to the indicating means, a plurality of contact means supported by a slide which is mounted in the instrument, said contacts positioned to slide against the side of the tune card having the conducting areas when the tune card is mounted in the receptacle, and means for moving the slide across the tune card to permit the contact means to contact the conducting areas in order to selectively energize the indicating means through said conductors.

17. A tune card for a musical instrument of the type wherein a plurality of note indicators are energized in a predetermined sequence to indicate the notes to be played, the card being adapted to seat in a receptacle so that it may be scanned by sensing means, and the card including an insulating body having a plurality of conducting elements positioned on the body, such that there is a surface of the insulating body separating adjacent conductors, and a plurality of conducting areas selectively positioned on the insulating surface between adjacent conductors and coupled to one of the adjacent conductors, said conducting areas positioned on the same side of the body as the conductors.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,733,477 10/ 1929 Votey 84478 2,792,739 5/ 1957 Isaacson 84477 2,811,072 10/1957 Isaacson 84478 2,897,712 8/1959 Merchant 84-478 1,607,226 11/ 1926 Wood 84-477 STEPHEN J. TOMSKY, Primary Examiner.

GARY M. POLUMBUS, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1607226 *Jul 28, 1925Nov 16, 1926Charles E WoodMusic-teaching device
US1733477 *Aug 28, 1926Oct 29, 1929Aeolian CoInstruction device for musical instruments
US2792739 *Jun 11, 1954May 21, 1957Anson IsaacsonIndicating musical instrument and tune card therefor
US2811072 *Dec 31, 1953Oct 29, 1957Isaacson Anson IEducational piano
US2897712 *Jan 24, 1955Aug 4, 1959Walter J BranerEducational keyboard musical instrument
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3720128 *Dec 30, 1971Mar 13, 1973Frank ETone indicating music box and its application to a music instrument
US4827826 *Oct 6, 1987May 9, 1989Kawai Gakki Seisakusho Co., Ltd.Piano toy type musical instrument
US5576505 *Aug 9, 1994Nov 19, 1996Gair LinhartMusic prompter for indicating note/chord changes to developmentally disabled individuals or orchestras
US5739457 *Sep 26, 1996Apr 14, 1998Devecka; John R.Method and apparatus for simulating a jam session and instructing a user in how to play the drums
US6018121 *Apr 10, 1998Jan 25, 2000Devecka; John R.Method and apparatus for simulating a jam session and instructing a user in how to play the drums
US6133518 *Jun 28, 1999Oct 17, 2000Casio Computer Co., Ltd.Composition of resin for light transmitting keys of a musical keyboard instrument
US6369313Feb 21, 2001Apr 9, 2002John R. DeveckaMethod and apparatus for simulating a jam session and instructing a user in how to play the drums
US6755713May 8, 2003Jun 29, 2004MattelToy with correlated audible and visual outputs
US7642437 *Jan 5, 2010Yamaha CorporationMusical instrument
US9082313 *Jul 21, 2014Jul 14, 2015McCarthy Music Corp.Interactive piano training system
US9092994Dec 8, 2014Jul 28, 2015McCarthy Music Corp.Interactive piano training system
US20070204743 *Feb 23, 2007Sep 6, 2007Yamaha CorporationMusical instrument
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/478, 84/479.00A, 84/404
International ClassificationG05B19/12, G06K19/067, G10D13/08, G10G1/02, A63H5/00, G09B15/08
Cooperative ClassificationG06K19/067, G10D13/085, G05B19/126, G10G1/02, G09B15/08, A63H5/00, G10G1/00
European ClassificationG10G1/02, G10G1/00, G10D13/08B, G05B19/12P, A63H5/00, G06K19/067, G09B15/08