Aug. 16, 1955 Filed Aug. 17 1951 A. O. WILLIAMS ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT 5 Sheets-Sheet l FEI'I INVENTOR A RNEY 1955 A. o. WILLIAMS 2,715,348
ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Aug. 17, 1951 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 FTETIY gs. LJEL 1.4
ORNEY 6, 1955 A. O. WILLIAMS 2,715,348
ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Aug. 17, 1951 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR Q19. LJJZZW BY (1% T ORNEY 1955 A. o. WILLIAMS 2,715,348
ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Aug. 17, 1951 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 a. e. lw'ENT-OR BY (1% AT ORNEY United States Patent 0 The present invention deals broadly with elec tonic devices, and in its specific phases with musical instruments of electronic type utilizing light beams with controlled interruption frequencies for producing sounds of corresponding frequency.
There have been many attempts in the past to develop electronic type musical instruments, and while most of them have proven to be impractical, a few have been sue-- eessful and are on the market in the form of electric or gans. The electronic mechanisms of those organs are exceedingly complex, expensive, and require complex 1....-
mechanisms to make them operate properly. With a long piano-type keyboard, such as is used on pianos and organs, all notes of any key are available to be played. However, when a short keyboard is all that is available, such for instance as is found in a conventional har- I.
monica, it can only be played in the key for which it was made. Highly expensive harmonicas of the type known as chromatic scale harmonicas have a mechanical means incorporated in same for manual actuation to sharp the. notes played. This sharping arrangement requires the use of one hand, while the holding of the harmonica to the mouth requires the use of the other hand. This is a definite limitation in the playing of the instrument since if the hands were not required to mechanically hold and operate the harmonica, the player could also play a second instrument. Moreover such short keyboard instruments lack any provision for mechanically shifting their playing characteristics so that they will play in different keys. It was a recognition of the limitations and shortcomings of the electronic type of musical instruments as well as the mechanically operated short keyboard instruments, such as a harmonica, which led to the conce tion and development of the present invention.
Accordingly among the objects of the present invention is the provision of a dual electronic musical instrument having two playing mechanisms, both of which operate electronically through a unitary assembly for converting light beams with controlled interruption frequencies into sounds.
Another object is to provide a musical instrument having a manually operated electric key changer so as to make it possible to play the instrument in various keys.
Another object is to provide a musical instrument having a mechanically actuated electric device for sharping the notes played.
Another object is to provide an electronic musical instrument with a mechanically actuated device for electrically changing the playing key, and a mechanically actuated means for electrically sharping any of the notes being played in the chosen key.
A further object is to provide an electronic type of musical instrument, of single or multiple construction, wherein one photo-electric cell can act as a source of fundamental tones as well as a plurality of fundamental tones all at the same time, and without interference between the various composite notes and without distortion in the quality of any of them.
Patented Aug, 16, E955 A still further object is to provide an electrically connected harmonica with a supporting stand, or with a harness supporting same from the shoulders of the player in a manner allowing the playing of the harmonica and the sharping of notes during the course of its playing by tilting the head, or otherwise, all while leaving the hands free to play another instrument; for instance, one having a piano-type keyboard adapted to be connected through the same sound reproducing system as the harmonica.
Still further objects and advantages of the present invention will appear as the description proceeds.
To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention, then, consists of the means hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims, the annexed drawings and the following description setting forth in detail certain means for carrying out the invention, such disclosed means illustrating, however, but several of the various ways in which the principle of the invention may be used.
In the annexed drawings:
Figure 1 shows a fragmentary, partially sectioned, diagrammatic form of the present invention with two musical instruments connected so as to permit the playing of either or both-at the same time.
Figure 2 shows a partially sectioned and enlarged top view of certain parts of the assembly at the perforated rotary disc which is fragmentarily illustrated.
Figure 3 shows a partially sectioned fragmentary view taken at line 3-3 of Figure 2 looking in the direction of the arrows.
Figure 4 shows a diagrammatic cross-section through one key of a multiple key electronic harmonica with schematically illustrated electric connections through a key changer and sharper to an electromagnetic member for controlling the flow of a beam of light having a predetermined interruption frequency.
Figure 5 shows an end view of the key changer and sharper as taken at line 5-5 of Figure 4 looking in the direction of the arrows and with the housing removed to show certain of the parts therein.
Figure 6 shows a longitudinal and substantially center section view of the key changer and sharper of Figures '4 and 5.
Figure 7 shows a fragmentary top view of the key changer and sharper with the housing of the assembly removed for clarity of seeing the working parts of the assembly.
Figure 8 shows a diagrammatic cross-section through one key of another form of multiple key electronic harmonica with schematically shown electric connections, as taken at line 88 of Figure 9 looking in the direction of the arrows.
Figure 9 shows a fragmentary rear view as taken at line 99 of Figure 8 looking in the direction of the arrows, and with the rear panel member removed.
Figure 10 shows in diagrammatic manner a harmonica mounted on a supporting harness in accordance with the present invention.
Referring more particularly to Figure 1, it will be noted that there is shown a fragmentary portion of a standard 88 key piano keyboard 1 wherein the keys are pivotally mounted in conventional manner. Connected to each key is an electrical contact member 2, and each of those contact members, in turn, is connected to a suitable source of electricity supplied through wire 3 leading, for instance, to a battery 4. Each contact 2 is adapted to connect with a second contact ii when the corresponding key of the piano keyboard 1 is depressed. Separately connected to each of the contacts 5 is a separate wire, such as that indicated by the numeral 6, which is one of the insulated wires of a multiple wire cable 7. For ease of understanding the electric circuit and operation of the present invention, only one wire 8 of the multiple wire cable 7 is shown coming out of same. Wire 5, and wire 9 leading from battery 4, are connected in conventional manner to an electromagnet 10 to form a closed circuit when a key of the piano-type keyboard is depressed to close the contacts which connect wire 3 to wire 8.
Electrically connected to wires 3 and 8, by means of wires 11 and 12, is a harmonica 13 and a key changing and sharping assembly 14, which will be hereinafter described in detail in connection with Figure 4. it should be noted in this connection that wires 11 and 12 are connected through a single key of the harmonica keyboard to play identically the same note as is played when the key of piano keyboard 1 is depressed and which is connected to close the electric circuit through wires 3 and The showing of the other pairs of wires connected to other keys of the harmonica 13 and keyboard 1 has been omitted as it would only duplicate the single key circuit illustrated and detract from the clarity of showing the invention. That single key circuit, accordingly, is intended to diagrammatically illustrate all of the like circuits involved.
Referring again to Figure l, and as supplemented by Figures 2 and 3, it will be noted that there is here involved an electronic assembly for converting light beams with controlled interruption frequencies into sounds of corresponding frequency. This apparatus has a source of light in the form of a light bulb 15 connected by means of wires 16 and 17 to a suitable source of electric power, such as a battery 18, and wherein a conventional switch 19 is used to turn the light on and off. This light is preferably mounted in a suitable light impervious housing 20 in which is mounted a lens system 21 for directing the beams of light from light bulb 15 in parallel direction lengthwise of the housing.
Mounted at the end of housing 2%), on rotary shaft 22, is a disc 23 having perforations 24 in circles concentric with shaft 22. Those perforations are of predetermined number uniformly spaced from each other in each circle for use in generating musical note frequencies as will be hereinafter described. This disc 23 may be driven in various ways and one which has been found to be very satisfactory involves the use of an electric motor 25, Figure 2, having a friction drive wheel 26 in contact with one face of perforated disc 23. base 27 guided in ways 28 and 2 1 and movable in such ways parallel to the face of disc 23 by means of adjusting screw 30. This adjustable mechanism makes it possible to adjust the rotary speed of disc 23 so as to compensate for such things as variations in line voltages, if either D. C.
power or a non-synchronous motor is used, and thus rotate the disc so that a given and predetermined number of perforations in any single circle on the disc will pass a given point in a predetermined unit of time; for instance, a circle of perforations to be used, as hereinafter described, in producing the sound of middle C, would have 256 perforations passing a given point in one second, and the other circles of perforations would be made to fall in step as soon as one circle was properly adjusted.
At the opposite side of disc 23 from housing 20, Figure 1, is preferably provided a light impervious container 31 in which is mounted a housing 32 carrying lenses 33 for guiding light beams received, as will be hereinafter explained, from light bulb 15 and concentrating same on a photo-electric cell 34 connected by means of wires 35 and 36 to amplifier 37, the output of which is delivered through wires 38 and 39 to volume control 4d, the output of which is controlled by operating lever 41. The output from the volume control 44? is passed by means of wires 42 and 43 to loud speaker 44. Amplifier 37 operates on power supplied by battery 18, or any other equivalent source.
At the inlet end of housing 32, Figures 1 and 3, there is a series of openings 45 in alignment with the perforation circles in disc 23 for producing the light beams which are guided to the photo-electric cell. To control such light Motor 25 may be mounted on a beams there are mounted on container 31, Figure 3, guide brackets 46 and 47, and a stop bracket 48. These guide brackets 46 and 47 act to guide gate members 49, which preferably have flattened ends 50 adapted to rest on stop bracket 48 and cover openings 45 at all times except when said gate members are lifted. These gate members 49, Figure 1, may be actuated in various ways and one convenient way of doing so is to place a 90 degree bend in the upper end 51 of same and then use a light weight flexible connecting member 52, which may be made from rubber or the like, to connect same to a pivotal member 53 pivotally supported on a bracket 54 and extending over the top of electromagnet 10. This pivotal member 53 will be made out of soft iron or a suitable steel alloy such that the passing of electricity through electromagnet 10 will cause the corresponding end of pivotal member 53 to be attracted to the electromagnet and through flexible connection 52 to raise the corresponding gate member 49, and upon interrupting the flow of electricity to allow such gate member to drop. The lifting of such gate member will expose the corresponding opening 45 for the passage of light beams of controlled interruption frequencies which are in step with the passage of the openings in disc 23 over opening 45 as disc 23 is rotated. Thus if the key on piano keyboard 1 corresponding to middle C is depressed, it will close an electric circuit to lift gate member 49 which covers the opening through which will pass a beam of light normally interrupted uniformly 256 times a second. That beam of light will be directed upon photo-electric cell 34 and such frequency of interruption will be transmitted to amplifier 37 and after due amplification will be carried to loud speaker 44 which in turn will produce sound at the rate of 256 vibrations per second and will thus give the sound of middle C.
Referring now to Figure 4, it will be noted that a harmonica 13 is shown diagrammatically in cross section in simple form through a single playing aperture for the purpose of illustrating the operation of this portion of the apparatus and its connection to the key changing and sharping assembly. Harmonica 13 is provided with the usual mouth piece 55 having a series of air passageways in a row, which forms the harmonica keyboard, with one such passageway 56 being shown. Each such passageway in turn is connected to a separate compartment 57 within which is mounted a metal diaphragm 58 which is anchored at one end and is a close but free fit with the sides and other end of said compartment. Diaphragm 58 and all of the other diaphragms in the adjacent compartments of the harmonica are electrically connected together and to a lead wire 12. Adjustable contact members 60 and 61 in turn are connected by means of wires 62 and 63 through multiple wire cable 64 to the key changing and sharping assembly 14 along with like wires similarly connected to the other diaphragms of the harmonica through their like sets of contacts.
It is thus to be seen that upon blowing through passageway 56 of the harmonica 13, diaphragm 58 will move upward and make contact with the adjustable contact 60 and thus close the electrical circuit through wires 12 and 62 to the key changing and sharping assembly 14. On
T and sharping assembly 14. Two circuits are thus closable by blowing or applying suction through any one of the passageways of the harmonica wherein each passageway leads to a compartment with diaphragm and contact members. The term actuatable operating members as used hereinafter is intended to not only describe the harmonica diaphragm with its contacts and associated parts but also other equivalent items such as keys 1 with contacts 2 and 5 and associated parts of the keyboard illustrated in Figure l.
The key changing and sharping assembly of Figure 4 is shown in detail in Figures 5, 6, and 7; from which it is to be noted that. for convenience this key changer and sharping assembly has a bare member and a cover member 66. At one end of this cover member there is provided an end closure member 59 having a series of depressions 67, which. are suitably spaced and used as will be hereinafter described.
Mounted within the key changer and sharping assembly is a rotary shaft 68 which is carried at its rear end on a bearing bracket 69 and held substantially against endwise movement by means of projecting pins 70 and '71. The other end of shaft 68 may be supported in conventional manner such as by means of aligned perforations in the end of base member 65 and end closure member 59, as is more particularly shown in Figure 6. On the end of shaft 68 is fixedly mounted an operating handle 72, such as by means of lock nuts 73 and '74. Projecting from handle 72 is a sliding contactor 75 which is preferably provided with a rounded end adapted to engage and be held in any one of depressions 67 in end closure member 59. Mounted in fixed position on shaft 68, for instance by means of lock nuts 76 and 77, is an insulator disc '78 on the periphery of which is fastened a series of conductor bars 79 by means of screws 80 or the like. Each of these conductor bars will be provided with a contact 81 at one end and a flexible lead wire at the other (such as 11, Figures 1 and 4).
Mounted on shaft 63 and for independent rotation thereon is a second insulator disc 82 to one end of which is connected a flanged-end tubular member 83 by means of carrying upper adjusting screw 92 and a lower adjusting screw 93.
Mounted on insulator disc 82 as by means of screws 94 are a series of conductor bars 95 corresponding in number and spacing with conductor bars '79 mounted on insulator disc 73. Each of these conductor bars 95 is provided with a contact 96 adapted to engage a corresponding contact 81 on a corresponding conductor bar 79. At the opposite end of each conductor bar 95 from that carrying contact 96 is a connector wire corresponding with a wire such as 62 or 63 of Figure 4. With the key changing and sharping assembly in the position shown in Figures 5 and 6, and with the contacts lined up, the apparatus will be set to play in a definite key, for instance it may be the middle C playing position for the entire range of the harmonica.
In the. playing of a harmonica it is desirable to be able to sharp the notes being played, and one such sharping apparatus is diagrammatically shown in Figure 4 where a switch 97 is shown connected to wires 98 and 99 leading to solenoid $58 with the electrical operating power for the solenoid being supplied by battery 10% or any other conventional source of suitable electrical energy. It should be noted at this point that in order to simplify the showing in the drawings, individual batteries have been shown in various portions of the electric circuits involved, however in actual practice a single source of electric power will normally be used, and that may be a battery or any other suitable source of electricity.
Closing switch 97 will actuate solenoid 88 and cause plunger 87, Figure 5, to be pulled downward a distance bars. 95 align with the next adjacent contacts 81 on conductor bars 79 carried by insulator disc 78. The shifting of one contact space in this manner has the effect of shifting the electrical connections of the whole musical assemiy so as to raise the pitch of the notes to be played by one half tone which thus sharps the notes being played. The moment that switch 97 is opened spring 89, Figure 5, will return the contacts to original position so that the instrument no longer plays in sharps. The number of conduetor bars 79in the key changing and sharping assembly 13 will preferably correspond with the number of notes playable by the harmonica and also at least part of the number of concentric circles of perforations in rotary disc 23. Each of the individual leads, such as ill, in turn will be connected to its corresponding electromagnet 10 to control the raising of the corresponding gate member 49 and thus, under playing conditions, cause the corresponding musical note to be played. The closing of switch 97 will, of course, by rotating insulator disc 82 with its conduetor bars )5, shift the contacts so that the next half tone higher or sharped note will be played instead of the regular note.
Depressions 67 on the end of end closure member 59 are spaced apart so that moving sliding contactor 75 from one depression to the next will shift contacts 81 on conduetor bars 79 so as to connect with the next adjacent set of contacts 96 on conductor bars 95. Sharping according- 1' could be accomplished manually by moving operating handle 72 in proper direction from one depression 67 to the next adjacent depression. While moving sliding conmotor 75 from one depression to the next will either sharp or flat a note depending upon the direction moved, movement in either direction two depressions will change the playing key one whole tone such as, for instance, from the key of C to the key of D. It is thus to be seen that the key changer readily makes it possible to mechanically shift'the playing key of the harmonica.
A modified form of the harmonica diagrammatically illustrated in Figure 4 is fragmentarily shown in Figures 8- and 9. Referring more particularly to Figure 8, it will be noted that the harmonica 13a has a mouth piece 55a provided with passageways 56;: opening into a compartment 57a in which is mounted a diaphragm 53a. This diaphragm closely but freely fits between the compartment side walls fill and end closure member 102 which may be anchored in place by means of screws 193 to support member 1634. The mouth piece 55a is also anchored to support member 134 in conventional manner such as by means of screws 105. A convenient way of pivotally mounting diaphragm 53a for ready response to variable pressures created by the player blowing or creating suction through passageway 56:: is to mount one end of diaphragm 58a in a notch 166 in pivot support 167 which may be mounted on support member 1% by means of screws MP8 or the like. Connected to diaphragm 58a adjacent its pivot end is an extension member 109 having an offset portion Ht adapted to pass around pivot support N7 and then preferably extend substantially in alignment with diaphragm 53a. The end of this extension member is conventionally connected by means of a tension spring 111 to a joining member 112 fastened in conventional manner to support member 184. This tension spring type of anchoring permits diaphragm 58a to pivotally move in response to variable pressures created in playing the instrument. Extension member 109 carries thereon a pair of oppositely extending contacts 113. An endwise adjustable contact 114 is preferably mounted on support member res and connected to one of the insulated wires carried by cable 64a. A second endwise adjustable contact 1'15 is adapted to engage the opposite member of contact 113 from that engageable by contact 114'. Contact 115 in turn is connected to another insulated wire in a continuation of cable 64a. As a matter of convenience endwise adjustable contact 115 is mounted on a carrying member 116 which in turn is mounted on a panel member 117 which may be parallel to end closure member 102 and fastened to support member 104 by means of screws 118, or the like. A panel member 119 perforated as at 120 for the adjustment of endwise adjustable contact 115 is preferably used to close in and shield the diaphragm and contacts as shown. This panel member may be fastened to end closure member 102 and panel member 117 by means of screws 121, or the like. Flexible ground wire 12a for each of the diaphragms 58a may be mounted on a bracket member 122 joined by means of bolt 123 used for fastening extension member 109 to diaphragm 58a.
In order to make it possible to support the harmonica assembly and play same without the use of the players hands, a conventional supporting harness 124, Figure 10, is provided. This harness in one simple form would consist of a breastplate 134 supported from the wearers shoulders by means of hooks 135. The upper end of breastplate 134 has an outturned extension 136 adapted to be fastened by means of bolts 137, or the like, to a connecting member 138 anchored by means of screws 139 to the bottom of harmonica mounting member 125. The harness 124 thus supports the harmonica in playing position as typically illustrated in Figure 10.
With the harness in place, the mouth piece 55:: will be r directly in front of the players mouth ready for playing in conventional manner. The sharping of the notes in this situation is accomplished in the following manner: The harmonica mounting member 125, Figure 8, mounted on supporting harness 124 carries pivots 126 for pivotally supporting harmonica 13a. In order to hold the harmonica in position relative to harmonica mounting member 125, a stop member 127, which may be joined to the assembly at any convenient point, such as on harmonica mounting member 125, is utilized in conventional manner.
The assembly may be held in proper relation by means of a mild tension spring 128 which holds support member 104 against the end of stop member 127. Conventionally fastened on harmonica mounting member 125 is a bracket 129 carrying an adjustable contact 130 with said contact connected to wire 98. Harmonica 13a has mounted thereon, by means of screw 131, a contact 132 in position to cooperate with contact 130, and contact 132 in turn is connected to wire 99. With the apparatus thus assembled, and held in place by means of harness 124, which will hold the harmonica in similar manner to a stand, downward pressure by the player on mouth piece 55a will cause the harmonica 13a to pivotally move on pivots 126 against the resistance of mild tension spring 128 and cause contacts 130 and 132 to come into engagement. This in turn electrically operates the sharping portion of the assembly as previously described.
In case it is desired to play the harmonica while being held in the players hand, and with the harness 124 removed, then by hand gripping the outer ends of mouth piece 55a or even the back portion of the harmonica assembly, the closing of contacts 130 and 132 for sharping purposes can be readily accomplished, for instance, by actuating harmonica mounting member 125 through projection 133.
Other modes of applying the principle of my invention may be employed instead of those explained, change being made as regards the apparatus herein disclosed, provided the means stated by any of the following claims or the equivalent of such stated means be employed.
I, therefore, particularly point out and distinctly claim as my invention:
1. In an electrically operated instrument utilizing a series of light beams with uniform interruption frequencies for producing different musical notes having frequencies corresponding to those of said light beams, the combination of a series of gate members with each gate member controlling the passage of one of said light beams, a series of actuatable operating members each of which includes closable electric contacts, electric circuit means operatively connecting the electric contacts of each operating member of said series to means for actuating a corresponding gate member of said gate member series, said means for actuating said corresponding gate member when the electric circuit through the contacts of the corresponding actuatable operating member are closed by actuation of the latter comprising an electro-magnet, an electric circuit shifting means including a series of electric contacts in pairs with one pair in each of said electric circuits which are closable by actuation of an operating member of said series of actuatable operating members, said pairs of contacts being equally spaced sidewise from each other as Well as one contact of each pair being movable sidewise relative to the other such that by moving one contact of a pair sidewise in unison with the other like contacts they will connect with the opposite contact of other pairs of contacts and this, in turn, will electrically connect each actuatable operating member, when operated, to a different electro-magnet and thus change the pitch of the notes played by same, and means for shifting said like contacts in unison relative to the like opposite contacts of said pairs.
2. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 1, wherein said electric circuit shifting means includes a sharper, said sharper having an electric operating circuit including a switch, a solenoid, and a spring, whereby the closing of said switch actuates said solenoid to move one of said series of contacts sidewise in unison so as to electrically connect same with the next adjacent contact of the series of opposite facing contacts of said pairs of contacts, and thus change the pitch of the notes played by one-half tone, said spring returning said series of contacts to starting position when said switch is opened.
3. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 1, wherein said electric circuit shifting means includes an operating member connected to one set of said sidewise movable contacts, and means for holding said operating member in various positions with said contacts engaged in each operating position with the other set of said contacts forming pairs of contacts, whereby the pitch of the notes played by actuation of said operating members, for each setting of said operating member, will be changed in predetermined amount such as to a different playing key.
4. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 1, wherein said electric circuit shifting means includes both a sharper and a key changer, said sharper having an electric operating circuit including a switch, a solenoid, and a spring, whereby the closing of said switch actuates said solenoid to move one of said series of contacts sidewise in unison so as to electrically connect same with the next adjacent contact of the series of opposite facing contacts of said pairs of contacts, said spring returning said series of contacts to starting position when said switch is open, said key changer including a means having an operating member connected to the other set of said sidewise movable contacts not moved by said sharper, and means for holding said operating member in various positions with said contacts engaged in each operating position with the other set of said contacts movable by said sharper and forming pairs of contacts, whereby the pitch of the notes played by actuation of said operating members, when said sharper is actuated, will be shifted a half tone, while the pitch of the notes played for each setting of said operating member will be changed in various predetermined amounts such as to a different playing key.
5. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 1, wherein said pairs of electric contacts in said electric circuit shifting means have their mating faces tangent to a common circle with the outer and inner series of contacts of said pairs being rotatively movable relative to each other, and means for rotatably moving said inner and outer contact series relative to each other a distance equal to a multiple of the sidewise Q spacing of said contacts from each other so that for each operating position said inner and outer series of contacts will form closed circuit pairs of contacts.
6. In an electrically operated instrument, an electric circuit shifting means having a series of electric contacts in pairs with said pairs of contacts being substantially equally spaced sidewise from each other with their mating faces tangent to a common circle, the inner series of contacts of said pairs of contacts and said outer series of contacts of said pairs of contacts being rotatable relative to each other in manner permitting said inner and outer contacts to match up and form pairs with different contacts of said inner and outer series, said electric circuit shifting means having a base member, a rotary shaft mounted on said base member, an insulator mounted on said shaft and anchored in fixed position thereto, conductor bars mounted on said insulator, with each of said conductor bars carrying one of the contacts of one of said series of contacts, a second insulator member mounted on said shaft and rotatable rela tive thereto, said second insulator carrying a second series of conductor bars, said conductor bars of said second series each carrying a contact in position to form pairs of contacts with the contacts on said first mentioned conductor bars, means for rotating said second insulator member a distance equal to the spacing between contacts of adjacent conductor bars, said means for causing such movement comprising an electric switch, a solenoid, a spring, and a beam member, said beam member being fixedly joined to said second insulator for rotary angular movement in unison therewith, said switch and solenoid being operably connected in series and with said solenoid mechanically joined to said beam member such that actuation of said solenoid through the closing of said switch will shift said series of contacts movable by said beam member so as to electrically connect them with the next adjacent contacts of said other series of contacts, said spring connecting said beam member to said base member so as to return said beam and contacts to starting position when said switch is opened, said shaft having fixedly mounted thereon an operating handle for rotatably moving the series of contacts on the conductor bars mounted on said first mentioned insulator which is fixedly joined to said shaft, and means for holding said operating handle in various fixed positions with the contacts of each series being alincd and in contact with the other series so as to form variable pairs of connections.
7. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 6, wherein means are provided for adjustably holding said beam member with said pairs of contacts in alinement when said electric switch operatively connected to said solenoid is open, and to limit movement of said beam when said switch is closed to an amount permitting shifting of the series of contacts movable by said beam to movement an angular distance equal to the sidewise spacing between centers of pairs of contacts.
8. An electrically operated harmonica utilizing a series of light beams with. uniform interruption frequencies for producing different musical notes having frequencies corresponding to those of said light beams, the combination of a series of gate members with each gate member controlling the passage of one of said light beams, a mouthpiece having a series of openings therein and a compartment for each opening, a metal diaphragm in said compartment, said diaphragm being anchored at one end of said compartment while closely but freely fitting the sides and opposite end of said compartment, said diaphragm carrying contact members thereon and said harmonica having adjustable contacts extending into said compartment in position to make contact with the contacts on said diaphragm as same is moved under the influence of air pressure or suction applied to said compartment in accordance with normal harmonica playing it procedure, electric circuit connections extending from the various diaphragm contacts to electro-magnet means for actuating a corresponding gate number of said gate member series when such contacts are closed, said circuits from said harmonica to said electro-magnet gate operators passing through an electric circuit shifting means which includes a series of electric contacts in pairs with one pair in each of the electric circuits closable by actuation of said diaphragms, said pairs of contacts being substantially equally spaced sidewise from each other with their mating faces on a common circle, the inner series of contacts of said pairs of contacts and said outer series of contacts of said pairs of contacts being rotatable relative to each other in manner permitting said inner and outer contacts to match up and form pairs with different contacts of said inner and outer series, said electric circuit shifting means having a base member, a rotary shaft carried by said base member, an insulator mounted on said shaft and anchored in fixed position thereto, conductor bars mounted on said insulator, with each of said conductor bars carrying one of the contacts of one of said series of contacts, a second insulator member mounted on said shaft and rotatable relative thereto, said second insulator carrying a second series of conductor bars, said conductor bars of said second series each carrying a contact in position to form pairs of contacts with the contacts on said first mentioned conductor bars, means for rotating said second insulator member a distance equal to the spacing between contacts of adjacent conductor bars, said means for causing such movement comprising an electric switch, a solenoid, a spring, and a beam member, said beam member being fixedly joined to said second insulator for rotary angular movement in unison therewith, said switch and solenoid being operably connected in series and with said solenoid mechanically joined to said beam member such that actuation of said solenoid through the closing of said switch will shift said series of contacts movable by said beam member so as to electrically connect them with the next adjacent contacts of said other series of contacts, said spring connecting said beam member to said base member so as to return said beam and con tacts to starting position when said switch is opened, stop means limiting the movement of said beam in both directions so that the pairs of contacts are substantially centered on each other at both extremes of the beam movement, said shaft having fixedly mounted thereon an operating handle for rotatably moving the series of contacts carried by the conductor bars mounted on said first mentioned insulator which is fixedly joined to said shaft, and means for holding said operating handle in various fixed positions with the contacts of each series being alined and in contact with the other series so as to form variable pairs of connections.
9. An electrically operated instrument, comprising an electric circuit shifting means having a series of pairs of electric contacts with said pairs of contacts being substantially equally spaced sidewise from each other, the individual contacts of each pair forming part of two series of contacts movable relative to and over each other so that the contacts of one series are matchable with different contacts of the other series to thus form different pairs of contacts with correspondingly different circuit connections, separate insulator means for each of said two series of contacts of the contacts of said electric circuit shifting means, each contact of each series having an individual conductor bar mounted on the corresponding insulator for that series of contacts, means for moving one of said insulators a distance equal to the spacing between contacts of the adjacent conductor bars, said means for causing such movement comprising an electric switch, a magnetic flux operated means, a means mechanically connecting said last mentioned electric insulator with its conductor bars to said magnetic flux operated means, and means for returning said insulator with its conductor bars to initial position when the circuit through said electric switch is opened, the closing of said electric switch thus shifting one of said series of contacts so as to electrically connect them to the next adjacent contacts of said other series, an operating handle connected to the insulator of the other series of contacts of said pairs of contacts for use in moving said insulator, and means for holding said operating handle in various fixed positions with contacts of one series alined and in contact with contacts of the other series so as to form variable pairs of electric connections.
10. In an electrically operated instrument as set forth in claim 9, wherein means are provided for adjustably holding the means which mechanically connects the electric insulator and its conductor bars to the magnetic flux operated means, with said pairs of contacts in alinement when said electric switch operatively connected to said magnetic flux operated means is open, and to limit the movement of said insulator, when said switch is closed, to an amount permitting shifting of the series 19 5d of contacts a distance equal to the sidewise spacing between centers of pairs of contacts.
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