US 3439568 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 22, 1969 E. R. GRIFFITH 3,439,563
I PERCUSSION TYPE ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed April 12, 1965 SIG/VAL 551573470, AMPLIFIER I A 7' T ORA/E Y5.
United States Patent 3,439,568 PERCUSSION TYPE ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Errol R. Griflith, Topton, Pa., assignor to Allen Organ Company, Macungie, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Apr. 12, 1965, Ser. No. 447,228 Int. Cl. Gh 1/02; H01h 3/12 US. Cl. 841.01 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to an electric musical apparatus. More particularly, this invention relates to a portable keying device for an electrical percussion ty-pe instrument.
In the performance of music, it is not unusual for the instrumental group to make use of the small percussion instruments such as Tom-Tom, Sand Blocks, Bass Drum, Wood Blocks, Castanets, Bongo Drums, etc. In fact, some of the percussion instruments such as the Bongo Drums are used in solo performances. These percussion effects have been simulated electronically by means of suitable signal generator circuitry, amplifiers and transducers.
The present invention provides a novel portable or easily transportable switching device that can be operated in a rhythmic manner to produce various percussion effects. The present invention also provides an electronic percussion instrument that includes a novel switching device that can be operated in a rhythmic manner to produce various percussion effects. The technique required for performance of these effects is greatly simplified by the present invention, since in playing the instrument it permits the use of the hands and fingers in a way not unlike the manner in which several of the instruments indicated above are played. Moreover, the present invention permits the construction of individual portable, electronic percussion instruments for solo performances.
It therefore is the general object of this invention to provide a novel electronic percussion instrument.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel switching device for an electronic percussion instrumen't.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide an electronic percussion instrument having a novel switching device incorporated therein.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a switching device for an electronic instrument having a novel arrangement of switching devices therein for improving the rhythmic manner in which such instruments may be played.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a novel portable electronic percussion instrument that can be played in a manner not unlike the type of instrument whose tone is reproduced.
Other objects will appear hereinafter.
For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there are shown in the drawings forms which are presently preferred; it being understood, however, that this invention 'is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment 3,439,568 Patented Apr. 22, 1969 of the present invention illustrating a switching device for an electronic percussion instrument.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevational view of the switching device shown in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a transverse section of the switching device illustrated in FIGURE 1 showing the detail of the switches taken along the line 3-3.
FIGURE 4 is a partial sectional view illustrating the bottom plan of one of the switchestaken along the line 4-4.
FIGURE 5 is a schematic block diagram of the switching device and electronic circuitry.
FIGURE 6 is a top plan view of a unitary electronic percussion instrument comprising a second embodiment of the present invention.
FIGURE 7 is a sectional view of the conductive embodiment shown in FIGURE 6 taken along the line 77.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements, there is shown in FIG- URE 1 a perspective view of an electronic percussion instrument switching device designated generally as 10.
As shown, the switching device comprises a support board 12 upon which are mounted a plurality of resiliently mounted blocks 14. Each block 14 is the keying member of a switch adapted to close an electronic circuit designed to ultimately generate a percussion acoustic signal.
Each block 14 is supported partially within a recess 16 formed in the board 12. The blocks 14 are supported by means of coiled compression springs 18 attached to each corner thereof. In this manner the blocks 14 are capable of being reciprocated toward and away from the board 12 when they are struck by the instrument player. The peripheral dimensions of recess 16 are larger than thoseof the blocks 14 so that the block may be reciprocated without substantial interference by the recess. Further, the enlarged recess 16 permits the blocks 14 to be slightly canted as they are reciprocated. If desired, the interior surface of recess 16 may be covered with a sounddeadening material such as felt flocking to prevent any unwanted noises generated by the blocks 14 striking the sides or bottom of recess 16. The board 12 and blocks 14 may be made of wood or plastic as desired.
A switch consisting of a first contact 20 mounted on the block 14 and a second contact 22 mounted within the' recess 16 is provided with each block and recess combination on the board 12. The contacts 20 and 22 are mounted so that their contacting portions are centrally located. In this manner, the contacts 20 and 22 will close the electrical circuit even though the block is depressed by the force applied at its edges and thereby canted as it is reciprocated.
Each of the contacts 20 and 22 is connected to appropriate electrical conductors that lead through a cable 24 adapted to be connected into an electrical acoustic tone generating unit. Thus, referring to FIGURE 5, the switching device 10 is shown connected by the cable 24 to a signal generator 26. In operation, the signal generator 26 is connected to an appropriate power supply and generates an electronic signal adapted to reproduce a particular percussion tone, when transduced into sound. The signal generator 26 is connected to an amplifier 28 which in turn is connected to a transducer 30 which may be a speaker. Thus, by connecting the contacts 20 and 22 to appropriate electronic circuitry, reciprocation of a block '14 results in the generation of such tones as a Tom-Tom, Castanet, Sand Block, Wood Block and Bass Drum. As the appropriate electronic circuitry to be used in signal generator 26 and amplifier 28 is known to those skilled in the art, it need not be described in detail.
The switch-ing unit 10 is designed to be a completely portable component of the electronic percussion instru- 3 ment. Thus, the board 12 is preferably 18 to 26 inches in length and 11 to 16 inches in width. Each block 14 is approximately 3 inches square and the recesses 16 are approximately 3% inches square. The board 12 can 'be placed on a supporting surface such as a table or the like, or it can be placed on a players leg and be played in the sitting position. As thus constructed, the switching unit is truly adapted for use in a convenient place by orchestra or band members, even though they travel from place to place.
As best shown in FIGURES 1 and 5, the blocks 14 are arranged in two groups of three and four blocks respectively. The left hand group of three blocks is normally played by the left hand and the righthand group by the right hand. Each group is arranged so that two blocks can be alternately-.reciproc'ated by the players fingers and the heel of his hand. Thus, the two longitudinallyaligned blocks 14 in the lefthand group may be a sand block and castanets respectively. The lower block in the lefthand group may be the bass drum. The righthand group of blocks 14 may be arranged so that reading counterclockwise beginning with the righthandmost block 14, there is provided a Tom-Tom, Wood Block, Tom-Tom, and Sand Block. While this arrangement is preferred, other arrangements may also be provided.
Referring now to FIGURES 6 and 7, there is shown an electronic percussion instrument that comprises a complete integrated unit designated generally as 40.- As shown, the unit 40 comprises a housing 42 having a substantially planar upper supporting surface 44. The surface 44 supports a plurality of blocks 46 partially supported within recesses 48. The blocks 46 are resiliently supported by spring 49 in the same manner that thesprings 18 support blocks 14 in the embodiment of FIGURE 1. A pair of switch contacts 50 and 52 are centrally mounted on the blocks 46 to close an electrical circuit when the blocks are reciprocated. The interior or recesses 48 may be covered with a sound-deadening material if desired.
The housing 42 encloses a combination power supply and signal generator 54 for generating an electric signal adapted to produce an acoustic tone when amplified and transduced by amplifier 56 and speaker 58. The speaker 58 is supported by surface 60 adjacent the opening 62 through which acoustic tones may pass. The combination power supply and signal generator 54 may be powered from a battery pack (not shown) mounted within the housing 42. A combination off-on volume control switch 64 is mounted in the top surface 44, providing master control to the electrical circuitry.
As best shown in FIGURE 7, a yoke-like support 66 is mounted on the surface 60. The support 66 is provided with a pair of circular cutouts 68 and 70 adapted to receive a players leg. In this manner, the player may support the unit 40 on his legs while in a sitting position.
As thus supported, the device may be operated by rhythm- 4 the players hand. If desired, the blocks 46 can be operative to close electronic circuits adapted to produce the sounds of a set of Bongo Drums. Thus, the second embodiment of this invention may be used as a portable electric Bongo Drum Set. Of course, other percussion tones could be initiated by the blocks 46, if desired.
Alternative supporting means for the unit 40 may also be provided. Thus, the unit 40 may be provided with pairs of legs one of which pair is shorter than the other. In this manner, the unit 40 can be supported on a table or the like with the rear edge being higher than the front edge.
The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.
1. In an electronic percussion instrument including a plurality of percussion tone signal generators, each generator being capable of producing one of several percussion tones, an amplifier for amplifying the electronic signal generated by said percussion tone signal generators, and a transducer for transducing an amplified electronic signal into sound; the improvement comprising a free standing supporting surface which is portable, a plurality of blocks reciprocably mounted in juxtaposition to said surface, resilient bias means normally biasing said blocks away from said surface, said blocks being of a size whereby they may be struck simultaneously by all of the fingers of a human hand, electrical switch means connected in circuit with a percussion tone signal generator, amplifier and transducer for causing energization of the same when said switch means are operated, said switch means being mounted in operative association with said blocks for operation when said blocks are moved toward said surface.
2. An electric percussion instrument in accordance with claim 1 wherein the distance between selected members permits them to be alternately moved toward and away from said surface by the fingers and heel of a players hand.
3. In an electric percussion instrument in accordance with claim 1 wherein said resilient means are springs extending between said surface and said movable elements.
4. An electric percussion instrument in accordance with claim 1 wherein a yoke is mounted under said surface for supporting said surface on a players legs.
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