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Publication numberUS3845685 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 5, 1974
Filing dateSep 7, 1973
Priority dateSep 7, 1973
Publication numberUS 3845685 A, US 3845685A, US-A-3845685, US3845685 A, US3845685A
InventorsD Coles
Original AssigneeD Coles
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Musical instruments
US 3845685 A
Abstract
The musical instrument has a keyboard with five lower digitals and not more than five upper digitals per octave span; there being not more than one upper digital between each pair of adjacent lower digitals.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Coles Nov. 5, 1974 MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS Primary ExaminerLawrence R. Franklin [76] Inventor: Donald K. Coles, 2505 Capitol Ave.,

Fort Wayne, 1nd. 46806 [57] ABSTRACT [22] Flled: Sept' 1973 The musical instrument has a keyboard with five lower [21] Appl. No.: 395,002 digitals and not more than five upper digitals per octave span; there being not more than one upper digital [52] U S Cl 84/451 84/423 between each pair of adjacent lower digitals. [51] Int. Cl G10c 3/12 In the pr f d m d th fi l w r digitals in [58] Field of Search 84/423, 451 h Octave Span of the keyboard play the tonal pentatonic scale in the key of C; five other tones of [56] Ref rences Cit d the twelve tones of the chromatic scale are played on UNITED STATES PATENTS upper digitals. All twelve tones of the chromatic scale may be obtained by operating a transposing 523: mechanism contained in the musical instrument, 2 483 617 10/1949 Bradl y 1:11:11: 84/312 which uniformly Shifts upward or downward i pitches controlled by the keyboard. Other FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPUCATONS embodiments of my invention play other pentatonic 6,541 5/1915 Great Britain 84/451 scales on the lower digitals. 372,811 4/1923 Germany 84/451 11 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures .E E l DEGAC do re mi so 101 do re mi so [01 olo l-- O CTAVE SPAN OCTAVE SPAN PATENTEnnnv 51914 $845585 SHEEI nor 5 CDEFGABCDEFGA BCD EFVGABVC DEF FIG-7 IVLVbLV HIVIVIVLV EDCAEEDCA cAGEDcA IF A so-ov MEET A so-ov COM-IN THROITHE RYE \F A BOE'DY x /e-s Q ay/A BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The standard musical keyboard, which is used to key the individual tone generators, has had much the same configuration for the last 400 years. This keyboard has seven lower digitals and five upper digitals per octave span. Proposed changes have generally been in the direction of increasing its complexity. So far as I am aware, all proposed configurations have included at least 12 digitals per octave span or at least seven lower digitals per octave span.

My musical instrument has a keyboard with reduced octave span containing only five lower digitals. It has not more than one upper digital between each pair of adjacent lower digitals. Thus, including both lower and upper digitals, there are not more than ten digitals per octave span. In the preferred embodiment, the musical instrument includes a transporting mechanism.

The origin of the standard keyboard is obscure. The article on Keyboard in the 1954 edition of Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians states The permanence of the width of the octave again has been determined by the average span of the hand, and a Ruckers harpsichord of I614 measures but a small fraction of an inch less in the eight keys than a concert grand pianoforte of the 20th century. We are without definite information as to the origin of the keyboard The first keyboard would be diatonic When the row of sharps was introduced, and whether at once or by degrees, we do not know. We find them complete in a trustworthy pictorial representation of the th century. A painting by Memling in the Hospital of St. John at Bruges, dated 1479, depicts the keyboard of a regal exactly as we have it in the arrangement of the upper keys in twos and threes. Transporting mechanisms were developed in the l9th century.

I have found that children rapidly acquire an appreciation of music if they are encouraged to experiment and improvise simple melodies and harmonies in a pentatonic scale. Elimination of the two semitonal intervals from the diatonic scale decreases the likelihood of getting unwanted pitch combinations and greatly increases the ability to pick out a desired pitch. Early training of relatively young children is possible if they are allowed to sing good rote songs and simultaneously play them on a keyboard instrument. The keyboard serves as a direct graphical representation of tonal relationships for the singer; singing with expression and breathing develop the qualities of intensity and phrasing in the player. Moreover, childrens small hands can span an octave more easily if the number of lower digitals in a keyboard is reduced below the traditional number of seven per octave span. This approach, attempted on the traditional keyboard, is marred by the danger of hitting the wrong digital, with its distracting influences. This danger is greatly reduced on my simplified keyboard, where the number of either lower or upper digitals per octave span is equal to the number of fingers on the hand.

When children are learning sight singing, they become confused by the traditional musical notation which sometimes represents a particular note on a line of a clef, and at other times by a space between the lines. More confusion is caused when a boy who has been trained to sing on the treble clef must learn to sing on the bass clef, where the lines and spaces are differently labeled. In music written for my pentatonic instrument, some of my notes are always assigned to lines, the other notes are always assigned to spaces. Moreover, the labeling of the lines in the bass clef is the same as the labeling in the treble clef.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION My invention is a keyboard-type musical instrument such as a piano or organ which is specially adapted to play a pentatonic scale on the lower digitals. The keyboard contains five lower digitals per octave span, where the length of an octave span is defined as the center-to-center distance between two digitals which controls tones an octave apart. (See FIG. 3) The keyboard contains at most a single upper digital located between any pair of adjacent lower digitals. Thus the maximum number of upper digitals per octave span is five; if both lower and upper digitals are included, the maximum number of digitals per octave span is 10.

The instrument may contain a transposing mechanism which uniformly shifts upward or downward the pitches controlled by the various digitals of the keyboard.

One object of my invention is to reduce the octave span of the keyboard so that small hands can span the octave.

A second object of my invention is to reduce the complexity of the musical scale available on the lower digitals, to encourage melodic and harmonic improvisation by children.

A third object of my invention is to provide a reduced musical scale which permits use of a simple notation. In the simplified notation, one group of notes is always represented by lines of a clef and other notes are always represented by spaces between the lines. Moreover, a particular note of the musical scale is always represented in the same position of the lower clef as it is in the upper clef.

A fourth object of my invention is to provide a transposing mechanism which allows a child to play simple pentatonic melodies at a higher or lower pitch to suit his voice, while playing on the lower digitals only.

Other advantages of my invention appear in the preceeding and following parts of the specification.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows the traditional keyboard.

FIG. 2 shows the labeling of the lines and spaces in the traditional treble and bass clefs.

FIG. 3 shows my special keyboard for use with the tonal pentatonic scale.

FIG. 4 shows my pentatonic musical instrument with a transposing mechanism.

FIG. 5 is an end view of the musical instrument shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a table showing musical notes played in different positions of the transposing mechanism.

FIG. 7 shows how the back ends of the digitals are bent and narrowed to actuate an array of valves.

FIG. 8 show the special notation for use with the pentatonic scale and my musical instrument.

FIGS. 9, 10, ll, 12 show other embodiments of my invention by means of which different pentatonic scales can be played on the lower digitals of the keyboard.

A detailed description of the invention follows. Referring to FIG. 1 the traditional keyboard has seven lower digitals per octave span. To avoid ambiguity, I

define the octave span as the center-to-center distance between digitals which control tones'an octave apart. Although defined as a center-to-center distance, this distance may of course be measured between any corresponding points of the two digitals, or between the cracks to the immediate left or right of the digitals.

Present keyboard instruments employ an equitempered scale with twelve different pitches per octave span separated by equal musical intervals of a semitone. The traditional keyboard with its seven lower digitals and five upper digitals can play each of these 12 pitches per octave span. In FIG. 1 the seven lower digitals to the left play the diatonic scale, which is characterized by the sequence of musical intervals of 2-2- I -2-2-2-l semitones.

These intervals add up to 12 semitones, so that the pitch to the right of the last interval is just one octave higher than the pitch preceding the first pitch of the sequence. The next seven lower digitals repeat the diatonic scale an octave higher, and so on.

In order to avoid other ambiguities, I generally use the terms tone and pitch in a relative way to describe a musical sound relative to other tones in a musical scale. When I intend the term pitch in an absolute sense, I use the specific term absolute pitch. I reserve the term note for the label itself (such as C or D) which is used to specify a digital and the tone it activates. When a clef is used to record music on paper or blackboard, each musical note is indicated by a sign on the clef. Starting at the left of the keyboard in FIG. 1, the seven lower digitals included in an octave spanare labeled C,D,E,F,G,A,B. The positions of the seven different notes on the treble and bass clefs are indicated in FIG. 2.

The traditional notation has the advantage of compactness, but the serious disadvantage that a particular note may be positioned on either a line or a space, and it is positioned differently in the treble and bass clefs. For example, the note E is placed on the bottom line of the treble clef, but also in the fourth space up of the treble clef and the third space up on the bass clef. Children find this notation confusing, especially when learning to sing at sight or to play by ear. The large number of notes in the diatonic scale and the large distance between notes an octave apart add to their difficulties. It is easily understood then, that a large fraction of our children are unable to master the difficulties of sight singing and playing.

In an attempt to reduce these difficulties, l have constructed a reed organ having a keyboard with a reduced octave span containing only five lower digitals. These digitals play the tonal pentatonic scale, which is a natural scale comparatively easy to sing. The keyboard contains one upper digital between each pair of adjacent lower digitals, making a total of digitals per octave span.

Depending on where one starts it, the tonal pentatonic scale may be considered to be made up of the five tones do, re, mi, so, la of the diatonic scale, or five tones do, re, fa, so, la of the diatonic scale. I choose the first of these alternatives. When using my organ and system of notation, the five syllables do, re, mi, so, la and the labels C,D,E,G,A have a fixed correspondence with the five lower digitals in each octave span, as shown in FIG. 3. This sequence of pitches corresponds to the sequence of musical intervals 2-2-32-3 semitones.

In the three cases above where the interval between adjacent pitches of the pentatonic scale is two semitones, there can be only a single pitch. I label these three pitches D ,E ,and A ;they are controlled by three upper digitals located between the adjacent lower digital pairs C-D, D-E, and G-A respectively. In the two cases where the interval between adjacent pitches of the pentatonic scale is three semitones, there is a choice between two pitches to be controlled by the single upper digital located between the adjacent lower digital pairs E-G and A-C. I have chosen to make these pitches correspond to the two pitches F,B of the diatonic scale which are missing from the pentatonic scale. Since F is one semitone above E, and B is one semitone below C, these pitches are labeled E and C respectively in my system.

My notation uses two four'line clefs as shown in FIG.

8. The spaces between the lines in each clef represent the tones A,C,D. The first space above the top line of each clef represents the tone E, and the space immediately below the bottom line of each clef represents the tone G. The four lines of each clef represent the tones A C" D and E respectively. A fifth line may be imagined one space above each clef, and this line represents the tone E On the keyboard the upper digital representing E is colored white, while the other four digitals are black. This irregularity provides a landmark for the player and allows him to associate the four black upper digitals in each octave span with the four lines of each clef, which represent the four flats in my system of notation.

Many well known melodies may be played entirely on the lower digitals of my organ. The beginning words and music of one such melody are shown in F IG. 8. The octave jump in the last measure is easily recognized as such by the same position of the G note with reference to the lower and upper clef.

In the United States, the Sol-fa syllables are generally used in a movable do system, whereas in Continental Europe they are frequently used in a fixed do system, which associates the syllables with fixed notes, fixed digitals, and fixed absolute pitches.

Tonality relationships can be easily taught by bringing singing children into early and intimate relationship with the keyboard of a piano or organ. For this purpose, I propose to use the so-called fixed do system which associates the sol-fa syllables with fixed digitals of the keyboard, but to dissociate the sol-fa syllables from fixed absolute pitches. The advantages of the movable do system can be retained if the keyboard instrument is provided with a transporting mechanism. In this way, music for voice and keyboard instrument can always be written in the key of C, without the troublesome key signature, yet by mechanical transposition the absolute pitch of the music can be adjusted to suit the voice. Accordingly, my reed organ is provided with a transporting mechanism which moves the tone generator assembly laterally with respect to the fixed keyboard.

Referring to FIG. 5, audible tones are generated by an array of wind-driven reeds l, which are similar to those ordinarily used in small reed organs. Air pressure produced by blower 2 is propagated through the distribution channel 3 to the array of reeds 1. Normally, wind exit from the reeds is blocked by valves 4, shown in FIG. 4. The digitals 5, shown in FIG. 4, are pivoted about pivots 6, so that when a digital is depressed at its front end, its back end rises, opens one of valves 4, and allows the associated reed to sound an audible tone. An opened valve 4a is shown in FIG. 5.

The association between the array of digitals 5 and the array of tone generators 1 may be varied uniformly by sliding the array of reeds and valves laterally with respect to the keyboard. This is accomplished by moving the transposing lever 7, seen in FIG. 4.

Referring to FIG. 5, the connecting part 8 between blower 2 and distribution channel 3 may be short and rigid, or it may be long and flexible, so that the blower may remain stationary while the tone generator assembly is being moved laterally. A wind chest (not shown) may be installed between the blower and the distribution channel to reduce fluctuations of air pressure.

Transposing mechanisms of this type, in which reed tone generators move laterally with respect to a fixed keyboard, are described in US. Pats. numbered 448,508 and 606,748.

Construction of my transposing mechanism requires a modification, since the two digitals per octave span which are missing from the traditional keyboard must nevertheless be represented in the array of tone generators. I therefore make the center-to-center spacing between adjacent tone generators only five-sixths of the center-to-center spacing between adjacent digitals. 1 narrow the back portion of the digitals and bend them so that the back ends of the 10 digitals in each octave span actuate 10 of the 12 tone generators in each octave span. The bending of the back portion of the digitals 5 is seen in H0. 7.

When the tone generator assembly is moved laterally by means of transposing lever 7, different sets of ten tone generators per octave span may be played on my keyboard, as shown in H6. 6. Thus any desired absolute pitch may be played. In fact, by moving the transposing lever appropriately, any desired note may be played on a lower digital of the keyboard.

While my invention has been described with reference to a reed organ, it is not restricted to this embodiment. The invention is applicable to any other keyboard type musical instrument such as a piano or accordian. The instrument is not necessarily equipped with transposing means. The term keyboard is used generically to include the pedalboard or clavier of an organ. The term digital includes the pedal. The tones controlled by the upper digitals may be different from those chosen for the preferred embodiment. The number of upper digitals per octave span may be any number not exceeding five. The instrument may be used to play different pentatonic scales on its lower digitals.

Referring to FIG. 9, a pentatonic keyboard has six consecutive lower digitals activating pitches separated by the sequence of 4-l-2-3-2 semitones. When played in the key of C, the absolute pitches correspond to the traditional labels C.E.F,G,B ,C. This keyboard has four upper digitals per octave span.

Referring to FIG. 10. a pentatonic keyboard has six consecutive lower digitals activating pitches separated by the sequence of 4-l-2-4-l semitones. When played in the key of C, the absolute pitches correspond to the traditional labels C,E,F,G,B,C. This sequence of pitches is a popular semitonal pentatonic scale. The keyboard has three upper digitals per octave span.

Referring to FIG. 11, a pentatonic keyboard has six consecutive lower digitals activating pitches separated by the sequence of 4-l-4-2-l semitones. When played in the key of C, the absolute pitches correspond to the traditional labels C,E,F,A,B,C. This sequence of pitches is another popular semitonal pentatonic scale.

Referring to FIG. 12, a pentatonic keyboard has six consecutive lower digitals activating pitches with separations of 4-l-2-1-4 semitones. When played in the key of C, the absolute pitches correspond to the traditional labels C,E,F,G,A ,C.

I claim:

1. A musical instrument having a plurality of tone generators which produce a sequence of pitches proceeding from low to high in an approximately equitempered scale, wherein the improvement comprises:

a keyboard having five lower digitals per octave span and not more than five upper digitals per octave span, each of said upper digitals being disposed between two adjacent ones of said lower digitals,

said lower digitals being consecutively numbered from left to right, starting with lower digital number one on the left of said keyboard, said lower digital number one controlling a predetermined lowest pitch generated by one of said tone generators,

each of said lower digitals with a number N greater than five controlling a pitch one octave higher than the pitch controlled by that lower digital which has a number equal to N-5.

2. The musical instrument of claim 1 in which lower digitals number two, three, four and five control pitches respectively two, four, seven, and nine semitones above said lowest pitch.

3. The musical instrument of claim 2 including:

a transporting mechanism having at least five operating positions, which makes all 12 tones per octave span accessible through the keyboard.

4. The musical instrument of claim 1 in which:

lower digitals number two, three, four and five control pitches respectively four, five, seven and 10 semitones above said lowest pitch.

5. The musical instrument of claim 4 including:

a transposing mechanism having at least five operating positions, which makes all twelve tones per octave span accessible through the keyboard.

6. The musical instrument of claim 1 in which:

lower digitals number two, three, four and five control pitches respectively, four, five, seven, and l l semitones above said lowest pitch.

7. The musical instrument of claim 6 including:

a transposing mechanism having at least five operating positions, which makes all 12 tones per octave span accessible through the keyboard.

8. The musical instrument of claim 1 in which:

lower digitals number two, three, four and five control pitches respectively four, five, nine and l l semitones above said lowest pitch.

9. The musical instrument of claim 8 including:

a transposing mechanism having at least five operating positions, which makes all 12 tones per octave span accessible through the keyboard.

10. The musical instrument of claim 1 in which:

lower digitals number two, three, four and five control pitches respectively four, five, seven and eight semitones above said lowest pitch.

11. The musical instrument of claim 10 including:

a transposing mechanism having at least five operating positions, which makes all 12 tones per octave span accessible through the keyboard.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2406946 *Jan 28, 1944Sep 3, 1946Firestone Floyd AMusic teaching device
US2456575 *Dec 18, 1947Dec 14, 1948Young LymanDecatonic keyboard
US2483617 *May 14, 1947Oct 4, 1949Bradley James EMusical instrument
DE372811C *Mar 25, 1921Apr 3, 1923Karl KoelschTasteninstrument
GB191506541A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3943811 *Aug 12, 1974Mar 16, 1976Coles Donald KKeyboard type musical instrument
US3973460 *Sep 18, 1974Aug 10, 1976Coles Donald KKeyboard type musical instrument
US4009633 *Oct 14, 1975Mar 1, 1977Coles Donald KElectronic musical instrument
US4054079 *Feb 9, 1976Oct 18, 1977Melvin Howard SohlerKeyboard and notation system
US8039722 *Jan 5, 2010Oct 18, 2011Maccoy JasonMethods and formats for visually expressing music
US8686268Mar 14, 2013Apr 1, 2014Natalie YoungSystem of associating sheet music notation with keyboard keys and sight reading
WO1995004345A1 *Jul 28, 1994Feb 9, 1995Chromatic Investments LtdAn improved keyboard design and music notation
WO1997036282A1 *Jun 26, 1996Oct 2, 1997Gerald L JohnsonSimplified keyboard and electronic musical instrument
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/451, 84/423.00R, 84/423.00A
International ClassificationG10C3/12
Cooperative ClassificationG10C3/12
European ClassificationG10C3/12