US1292321A - Expressive action for musical instruments. - Google Patents

Expressive action for musical instruments. Download PDF


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US1292321A US87217814A US1914872178A US1292321A US 1292321 A US1292321 A US 1292321A US 87217814 A US87217814 A US 87217814A US 1914872178 A US1914872178 A US 1914872178A US 1292321 A US1292321 A US 1292321A
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musical instruments
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Robert Hope-Jones
Cecil Hope-Jones
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Application filed by RUDOLPH WURLITZER Manufacturing CO filed Critical RUDOLPH WURLITZER Manufacturing CO
Priority to US87217814A priority Critical patent/US1292321A/en
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    • G10F1/00Automatic musical instruments
    • G10F1/02Pianofortes with keyboard


1,292,321 Patented Jan. 21, 1919.
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APPUCAHON FILED NOV. 14. 19m. 1,292,331:
Patented J an. 21, 1919.
4 6296651 10 172 -J57ze$ Aim 4' 72 zlsirairx of UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.
Specification of Letters Patent.
Patented Jan. 21, 1919.
Application filed November 14, 1914. Serial No. 872,178.
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that ROBERT HOPE-J ONES, late of North Tonawanda, in the county of Niagara and State of New York, did invent certain new and useful Improvements in Expressive Actions for Musical Instruments, and the following is hereby declared to be a full, clear, and exact description of the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this specification, and to the reference-numerals marked thereon.
The present invention relates to musical instruments, especially to that class in which a vibratory member is set into motion by a hammer blow, and it has for, its object to provide an actuating mechanism for imparting a movement of greater or less rapidity to a hammer or other member by applying thereto an initial force, to set it into motion at a predetermined speed, and after a suitable interval has elapsed and before the hammer has completed its motion to modify this speed by causing another force to act thereon to accelerate the motion. To these and other ends the invention consists in certain improvements and combinations of parts, all as will be hereinafter more fully described, the novel features being pointed out in the claims at the end of the specification.
In the drawings:
Figure 1 shows a diagrammatic view of a motor actuating device operatively connected to an ordinary piano action, and controlled by a pneumatic mechanism in which a perforated sheet is used;
Fig. 2 is'an enlarged detail view of a portion of the perforated sheet;
Fig. 3 is a similar view showing perforations of a different shape, and
Fig. 4 shows the actuating device under the control of an ordinary piano key board.
Similar reference numerals throughout the several views indicate the same parts.
The reproduction of musical selections mechanically has been unsatisfactory in that it has been impossible to duplicate the control which a performer has over the instrument in the variation of the intensity of individual notes. The present invention provides means for reproducing individually the notes of a musical composition, with exactness both as to duration and strength of tone and generally stated it contemplates using pneumatic hammer operating devices controlled by a plurality of primary and secondary valves, the former being adapted to be controlled either by the key of the instrument or by means of perforations in the music sheet, while the secondary valves are of difierent sizes and by reason of the differences in the volume of air they admit said valves regulate the blow delivered by the hammer.
By the adaptation of the invention to a player piano in which a perforated sheet cooperates with a tracker board numerous variations in results may be accomplished and as a further feature of the invention the broad idea is here set forth of providing the tracker board with a plurality of apertures arranged in sets one corresponding to each of the sets of primary valves, and each set being devoted to a single note and employed for controlling a single key action. This idea is further extended to include the perforating of the music sheet in such a way that the aperture of a given set of apertures uncovered is the one which will control the movement of the key to produce a loud or soft effect and further these perforations may be formed to uncover two apertures of a set successively to obtain still further effects in tone production.
In the drawings the operating mechanism is shown for only one note action of a piano, but it will be understood that in practice the parts are duplicated for each note or key. The jack or operating member 1 of an ordinary piano action (not shown) is connected by a lifting bar 2 to a pneumatic motor or bellows 3, to which fluid under pressure is supplied, through the passage 4 from a supply chamber or wind chest 5. Valves 6 and 7, the former of which is the smaller, close openings 8 and 9 leading from the chamber 5 to the passage 4, and a valve head 6 on the same stem with the valve 6 closes the passage 4 when the opening 8 is uncovered. The valves 6 and 7 are opened by bellows 10 and 11 under the control of primary valves operated by electromagnets 12 and 13. The last mentioned valves each comprise an armature in the form of a small metallic disk 14, which when attracted allows the escape of the airfrom the bellows through an opening such as 15, which allows them to collapse by the pressure in the chamber 5. The -bel--'- lows 10 is connected with the chamber 5by the customary bleed or passage 15 and the bellows 11 has a similar bleed.
In order to cause the operation of th hammer with any desired intensity, the valve 6 is first operated, allowing the admission'of pressure'to the motor or key pneumatic? The rapidity of the action of the motor, resulting from this initial impulse, maybe regulated to a nicety by an adjustable valve l6, controlling the admission of fluid through the aperture 8. Before the motor has opened to its full extent, the valve 7 is unseated admitting a larger supply of pressure which augments the effect of the first impulse, and consequently urges the hammer with greater speed. The period that elapses between impulses determines the force of the blow im-.
completed before the second impulse occurs,
the effect of the latter is negligible.
The primary valves may be operated in different ways; For example, in Fig. l'is shown a perforated sheet '20 passing over. a trackerboard '21. In the latter are sets of passage's22, 22?- for each note action leadingto separate'bellows 23, 23*, within a vac- 'uum chamber 24. This arrangement 'is du- .plicatedfor every note, and the sets of passages 22, 22 corresponding to a single note are preferably arranged adjacent each other so that they may be opened either by separate perforations'22", 22 or by a single aperture in the sheet 20. The bellows23, 23 carry metallic plates 25, 25 which are adapted to make electrical connections between pairs of contact fingers 26, 26 in circuits formed by the wires 27, 2'? leading to the magnets 12 and 13 respectively.
It will be'remembered that the valve 6 may be operated in advance of the valve 7, when these are controlled by a single aperture in'the music sheet, and this is accomplished by cutting the advance edge iof'such apertures in thesheet 20 at an angle so that the passage 22 is uncovered before the passage 22 is opened.- This allows air to enter the passage 22 and'eXpand the bellows 23, closing the switch 26, and operating the magnet 12, which brings about the operation of the valve 6. The continued motion of'the sheet 20 uncovers the passage 22 after a predetermined time has elapsed, depending on the angle'of the advance edge of the aperture, causing the operation of the valve 7. The aperture'A' in Fig. 3 admits air to-both passages at practically the same instant, thereby causinga very -rapid movement of the hammer, and producing a loud tone.
Aperture B will produce a medium tone and aperture C a soft tone in accordance with the. method of operation described.
In Fig. 4 are shown the contacts 26 and 26 in the circuits of the magnets of the primary valves associated with the piano keys and adapted to be closed by switch members 29, 29 mounted on'the piano key. ,The switch member 29 is so adjusted that it connects the contacts 26, before the member 29*, engages 'the contacts 26. The time interval between'the making of the two sets of contacts is varied by the intensity of the blow onthe key. A soft touch will move the key downward more slowly than a hard one, consequently more time will elapse between the operation of the valves 6 and 7. This form may be used advantageously in case it is desired to'havethe keyboard at a from the instrument. V
The claim ofthe invention is: r
struments, the combination with an operatdistance ing member therefor, an actuating pneuvmatic for said member, a fluid pressure :chamber, valves for admittingfluid there.- from to said actuating pneumatic,'actuating pneumatics for said; valves, electro magnets controlling the last-named pneumatics, and r means controlling the' electromagnets arranged to operate them successlvely. V 2. In an expression actlon for musical 1nstruments, the combination of an operating member, a pneumatic for actuating said member, a fluid pressure chamber, a plurality of valves for admitting fluid to said pneumatic, separate actuating pneumatics for said valves, an electrical circuit, electromagnets in said circuit controlling the lastnamed pneumatics respectively, switches in said circuit each controlling one of said magnets, pneumatics for actuating said switches, and a tracker-board having a pair of passages leading to the last-named pneumatics, respectively. V
V .GECIL HOPE-JONES, Temporary administratflaz of the estate 07 Robert Hope-Jones, deceased. 1
' 'Copies otthis patent may be obtaincd tor five cents each, by addressing the Commissioner '9: Patents. washingtomagl?
US87217814A 1914-11-14 1914-11-14 Expressive action for musical instruments. Expired - Lifetime US1292321A (en)

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3138053A (en) * 1960-07-06 1964-06-23 Albert R Rienstra Control system for pipe organs
US3160051A (en) * 1961-04-10 1964-12-08 Guenther Roman Pipe organ action
US3685383A (en) * 1969-06-13 1972-08-22 Dale Electronics Switching apparatus for a player piano

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3138053A (en) * 1960-07-06 1964-06-23 Albert R Rienstra Control system for pipe organs
US3160051A (en) * 1961-04-10 1964-12-08 Guenther Roman Pipe organ action
US3685383A (en) * 1969-06-13 1972-08-22 Dale Electronics Switching apparatus for a player piano

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