US 3775546 A
Electronic music instrument with separate tone generators which are assigned to the various tones and which are energizable by contact switches or proximity switches. Geometric-type elements are arranged in a regular assembly departing from a keyboard. The elements are designed and arranged in a manner encouraging the use of the sense of touch. Each element is assigned to a particular tone and capable of triggering said contact switches or proximity switches, respectively. The elements may have the form of the rungs of a ladder, or the steps of a stairway, or of mosaic components of a flooring.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 0 [191 v[451 Nov. 27, 1973 Honegger' I [5 LADDER-LIKEELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Inventor: Max Werner Honegger, 8143 Sellenburen, Switzerland Filed: June 14, 1972 Appl. No.2 262,866
 Foreign Application Priority Data June 17, 1971 Switzerland; 8839/71 7 3,477,332 11/1969 Kreiss ..84/470X 1,772,394 8/1930 Hanselmann 84/470 2,879,685 3/1959 Page 84/470 3,253,352 5/1966 Kobler et a1. 84/423 X 3,298,012 1/1967 Weller 200/85 R X 3,468,209 9/1969 Barreto 84/423 Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-Stanley J. Witkows ki [5 7 ABSTRACT Electronic music instrument with separate tone generators which are assigned to the various tones and which are energizable by contact switches or proximity switches. Geometric-type elements are arranged in a regular assembly departing from a keyboard. The elements are designed and arranged in a manner encouraging the use of the sense of touch. Each element is assigned to a particular tone and capable of triggering said contact switches or proximity switches. re-
spectively. The elements may have the form of the rungs of a ladder, or the steps of a stairway, or of mosaic components of a flooring.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures tion.
1 g F .LADDER-LIKEETELECTRONIC- MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I r My copending patent application, Ser No. 190,160,
filed on Oct. 18, l 97 l;l-discloses an electronic music instrument in 'particu'lar -a soundingmusic: board for .music' instruction, comprising conductor bars which Hare-arranged below a writing surface, more particularly belowand between the staff lines, and which are each assigndto a tone and connected to switching means for the purpose of energizing-tone: generators assigned tothevarious tonesl Theswitching means in conjunc- :tionwith'theconductorbars havethe form of capacitive proximity switcheswAlthough such: a music board isemineritly suitable asa device formusic instruction, its'useis confined to cases in-whichthe system of notation is already known to' the students or is to be learnt 'by means of such aboard.
: For.small childrenbelow school age, however, such a board is of little use. Nordoes it appreciably help in "musically accompanied rhythmics.
lt is an object of the presentinvention to provide an electronic music instrument suitable for the music edufcatiOn of 'small'children' as well1as for the performance of: musically accompanied rhythmics.
----According-to one aspect of the invention the electronic instrumentcomprises separate tone generators whichassigned to the various tones and which are ener- Jgizableby contact switches orproximity switches, and
it further comprises a regularassembly which consists of equal/geometrical elementsandwhich departs'from a' keyboard andwhose: elementsare designed in a manner encouraging the use of the sense of touch and are each assigned to a particular tone and capable of trig- -:gering said contact switches or proximity switches.
"It is thus possible to construct the assembly in various forms which are eminentlysuitable for -'music instructionandpermit anastonishinglearning performance to be-achieved, even with" small children.
Inan especially advantageous version, theaelements "may'be designedas the rungs of a ladder or as steps of astairway. Instead, they may havethe form of mosaic components of a flooring. In all cases, the simple geometrical form of the assembly emphasizes the relation takes a walkable form, such as stair or floor surfacings, the rhythmic instruction goes alongwith music instruc- Another aspect 'of the invention consists in using the electronic music instrument in conjunction with a sound and/or picture storage device as an aid to music instruction. This presentsentirely'new perspectives for 7 music in'struction notablyin conjunction ,with audiovisual instruction methods.
-Several embodiments of the inventionare now to be described byway of example with reference to the accompanyingdrawings, in 'which "FIG. 1 shows a ladder with' removable rungs which when touched or pressed trip theparticular tones;
FIGJZ shows'a section along lineA- A in FIG. 1; FIG. 3 showsa sectionalong-line 3-8 in FIG.- 1;
-ln theembodiment shown in FIG. 1, the ladder com prises a ladder frame: Band several 'rungs2; The rungs are removable from the ladder frame and re-attachable thereto, and permanent magnets may perform the function of holders. FIG. 2 shows in section the fastening of a rung to the frame by means of a permanent magnet 3 which, in a preferred version, has the form of a pot "magnet. Suchrnagnets can be arranged on both sides of the ladder frame, so' that the rungs are relatively firmly fastened to the frame. The ladder frame 1 is preferably made of wood or some other electrically nonconductive material, while the rungs 2 may be made of ferromagnetic material, for instance. Where permanent magnets are arranged on both sides of the ladder frame.
at least one of each pair of magnets can be electrically connected to the input of a succeeding proximity switch. The rungs 2 then act as electrodes which when touched develop an input signal in'the proximity switch owing to the persons body capacity increasing the effect of the space field, so that the particular tone generator is switched on. r
Instead of proximity switches, it is possible to use direct contact switches. FIG. 3 shows an especially simple version in which a simple pressure switch 4 is imbedded in the ladder frame 1. The pressure switch may be designed in such a manner that slight pressure on the .whose input'is actuated by an element as described above, such as a ladder rung, and whose output acts by various manual switches ll, 12 and 13 to select a tone generator 14 for the full tone or one of two tone generators l5 and 16 for the lower and upper half-tones, respectively. The switch 11 serves to cutoff all three tone generators, while the change-over switch 12 is designed alternatively to connect the full-tone.generator"14 or either of the two half-tone generators. The change-over switch 13 serves to select the half-tone generator 15 or 1 16 required. Of course, such change-over switches can be dispensed with if the instrument is designed for one tonalty only.
Fitted into the line between theswitch 10. and the tone generators isa terminal 17 designed for the connection together with other generators, such as generators of different tonality, or for the connection of another electronic music instrument, such as an organ. The terminal 17 can also be used toswitch a signal lamp for tone indication, preferably with different colours identifying the various tones.
All'tone generators are connected by a common busbar to an amplifier 18 which is followed by a speaker 19. The tone generators may be either known separate analogue generators or known digital devices operating by harmonic synthesis. To refine the sound pattern, it is possible toinclude a noise generator 20 which is designed for a specific noise spectrum and which superimposes an adjustable percentage of desirable distortion on the generally sinusoidal signal of the tone generators. The said noise generator can be used to simulate the wind effect of flutes or other wind instruments, for instance. The sound pattern thus produced is more pleasing than that of the plain sinusoidal signal of the tone generators.
Instead of having the ladder shown in FIG. 1, it is possible to arrange steps designed to trigger the switch 10, as shown in FIG. 4. In this case again, the switch may be designed in a variety of manners, the simplest version here being that of a resilient step acting on a pressure switch. Instead, the step may be fixed, but made of electrically conductive material or coated with such a material so as to form an interception electrode for an electronic proximity switch. When a person treads on the step, the space signal received by ,the proximity switch is appreciably amplified by the increase in-electrode surface due to the persons body capacity, so that the switch is triggered which energizes the particular tone generator.
Finally it is also possible to arrange floor tiles in a specific pattern with suitable switches and electrodes capable of triggering proximity switches.
While the first two embodiments mentioned are mainly suited for the music instruction of small children, the third embodiment, in which various tone generators selected by the switches 12 and 13 according to the tone desired are energized by a person stepping on various floor tiles is preferably intended for ballet or rhythmic'instruction. However, the feature common to all embodiments is that their simple and regular geometrical form encourages the touching of the various elements or the stepping thereon, so that various tones and even melodies can be sounded according to the selection of the elements. I
Such an instrumnt is eminently suitable as an aid to audiovisual instruction and programmed courses using sound and/or picture storage devices. Within an expanded instruction system, it is also possible to connect such instruments to computer-assisted programmed teaching devices.
Of course, the choice of the geometrical form in which the elements are arranged is not confined to the embodiments described.
The form most suitable from the teaching aspect can be chosen according to the exact purpose or the age of the persons to be instructed.
To assist learning capacity, the elements can be colour-coded, preferably with different colours identifying different tones.
. What is claimed is: V V
l..An electronic musical instrument in the form of a ladder-like structure comprising. in combination, a pair of side members produced from electrically nonconductive material, said side members being provided with substantially uniformly spaced securing means disposed in transversely aligned pairs; a removable rung received in each pair of said securing means, said rung being produced from ferro-magnetic material and at least one of each pair of spaced securing means including a magnet retaining the associated rung in mounted position; a plurality of tone generators, each of which is assigned to a different tone, at least one tone generator being provided for each rung; and separate electrical switch means associated with each rung and having electrical connection with an associated tone generator whereby said tone generator is switched on responsive to a signal received from its associated rung.
2. An electrical musical instrument as set forth in claim 1 including a amplifier and a speaker, all of the tone generators being electrically connected to the amplifier through a common busbar and the musical tones itive proximity switches.