US3474180A - Electronic stringed musical instrument of percussion - Google Patents

Electronic stringed musical instrument of percussion Download PDF

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US3474180A
US3474180A US791203A US3474180DA US3474180A US 3474180 A US3474180 A US 3474180A US 791203 A US791203 A US 791203A US 3474180D A US3474180D A US 3474180DA US 3474180 A US3474180 A US 3474180A
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strings
instrument
percussion
kettledrum
thirteen
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US791203A
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Andre Monici
Guy Siwinski
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American Express Co
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American Express Co
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10HELECTROPHONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
    • G10H3/00Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means
    • G10H3/12Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument
    • G10H3/14Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument using mechanically actuated vibrators with pick-up means
    • G10H3/18Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument using mechanically actuated vibrators with pick-up means using a string, e.g. electric guitar

Description

Oct. 21', 1969 o ETAL 3,474,180
' ELECTRONIC STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT 0F PERCUSSION Filed D60. 25, 1968 a I FIG. 1 V
L zy United States Patent 3,474,180 ELECTRONIC STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF PERCUSSION Andre Monici, Paris, France American Express, 2 Rue du Congres 6, Nice, France), and Guy Siwinski, Route de Saint-Jean de Braye, 45 Semoy, Loiret, France Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 573,769, Aug. 18, 1966. This application Dec. 23, 1968, Ser.
Int. Cl. Gh 3/00 US. Cl. 84-113 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to an electronically amplified musical instrument comprising a rectangularly shaped metal frame furnished with at least thirteen metallic strings stretched over two bridges spaced as to jointly define the speaking length of each string, a dampening bar consisting of at least thirteen piano-type dampers, -a
set of at least thirteen equi-distantly spaced hitch pins and This application is a continuation-in-part of our application Ser. No. 573,769, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention pertains to the electronically amplified stringed musical instruments field and more particularly to the field of the symphonic orchestra percussion instruments.
Description of the prior art The conventional kettledrum or tirnpani is a percussion instrument, utilized mostly in symphonic orchestras, consisting of a hollow-cylinder with a membrane stretched tautly over the openings. It is tuned to the tonality of the composition executed by the orchestra and played by a timpanist who beats the membrane with felt-tipped drumsticks. The pitch of the instrument is related to one given note which must be changed constantly to be in harmonic relation with the tonal character of the musical score being played. To change the pitch of this one note, the membrane of the kettledrum must be tightened or loosed. This action necessitates considerable dexterity from the timpanist, particularly in numerous symphony works where the tonality of the composition frequently changes and the re-tuning action must be made while the entire orchestra is playing. The kettledrum is heavy and burdensome to transport from place to place, and due to its large size, is unutilizable in very small orchestra. The problems of re-tuning, of space, of transportation and the high cost of the conventional kettledrum are solved by this invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An electric-ally amplified stringed musical instrument producing true percussive sounds, which sounds, are no longer produced by the beating of a membrane stretched over a hollow-cylinder but by the vibration of its strings, which strings, by their diameter, length, tension and by the method by which they are struck generate through an amplifier-speaker combination sound effects similar of those produced by a kettle-drum or the like symphonic orchestra percussion instruments. One string can produce ice a note or tone equivalent to those produced by one conventional kettle-drum and the thirteen strings are tuned to cover an ascending or descending chromatic scale of a symphonic orchestra percussion musical range.
The principal object of said invention is to create a new electronic percussion instrument for orchestra with many advantages over the traditional percussion instrument such as: while the percussionist retains the same technique of playing a conventional percussion instrument, he will have the possibility of exploiting instantaneously and with great ease the entire range of a chromatic scale (13 notes) without the necessity of tuning during the execution of a musical selection requiring changes of key; the possibility of playing a full chord; the possibility of precisely adjusting the pitch and volume of the sounds to accord with the dynamics of the composition executed and at the same time with the size or acoustics of the hall or theatre where playing. Because of its size as compared with the size of symphonic kettle-drums, the cost and the problem of transporting this instrument is negligible. Furthermore, said instrument, which can be utilized in small orchestra, will permit new percussion effects for composers and, in symphonic orchestra, will produce in one single unit the equivalent musical output of thirteen conventional kettledrums.
0n the drawing:
FIG. 1 represents a top view of the instrument.
FIG. 2 represents a side view of the frame where the mechanical devices, vibration-generators and pick-up magnetic coils are located.
The instrument is made of a light but solid rectangularly shaped metal frame 1, 29" x 25", assuring a perfect stability of pitch for the '13 metallic strings 6 with which the frame is furnished. Said frame is supported by four adjustable legs 7, 31 in height at each corner thereof, which can be adjusted to the height desired by the player.
The strings are secured to thirteen equi-distantly spaced hitch-pins 5 anchored across the metallic first side of the frame and to thirteen similarly spaced tuning pins embedded in the hard woodboard 4 located on the side opposite to and parallel with said first side. The frame has a straight bearing edge or bridge means 3 adjacent and parallel to the tuning bar and a second bridge means 2 consisting of a serpentine shaped member to regulate the various speaking lengths of the strings 6, which is located near the metallic first side of the frame 2. The two bridgemeans 2 and 3 are spread so as to jointly define the speaking lengths of the strings 6. Each of said strings consist of two or three layers of spirally wound copper wire over a steel wire and are tautly stretched over the two bridge means. Said strings are tuned chromatically from a low C of kettledrum pitch to a C an octave higher covering a complete musical-percussion chromatic scale or 13 notes. The string vibrations when struck by two felt-tipped drumsticks are picked-up through a timbre regulated pick-up bar 8 including at least thirteen spaced electro-magnetic pick-up means each of which consist of a ferrite-core, located in a coil consisting of mm. enameled wire having a control screw 9 therethrough which permit to adjust the quality of the timber sought. Said timber regulated pick-ups bar is adapted for connection to an amplifier and speaker combination. The dampening or deadening of the sound is effected by a dampening bar consisting of at least thirteen piano-type dampers 12 which can be regulated by an individual screw 13. The power of the instrument itself is controlled with the potentiometer 10 located on the right side of the frame. The connection to the amplifier and speaker combination is made by the coaxial plug 11. A tone and volume pedal control can be added to the instrument if desired, however the sensibility of the instrument is such that it can be controlled with the vigor with which the strings are struck by the player. The amplitude of the harmonics is determined by the striking point,'the felttipped drumsticks impact force and the sticks material. Best results are achieved when the strings are struck above the tuning-pins 14, the exact point being largely a matter of feel of the instrument and personal touch.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT This invention pertains to a new type of electronically amplified stringed musical instrument of percussive sounds. Therefore, this description will particularly be related to the strings and amplifier-speaker combination as to enable any person skilled in the pertinent art to make and use this invention.
The strings A stringed musical instrument is identified by the tonecolor characteristic of its strings and by the manner those strings are played, either by a blow, picks, hammer, sticks or the like. The sounds of a kettledrum, which is one of the lowest-pitched instrument in the orchestra, are produced by the beating of a membrane stretched over an hollowcylinder. To obtain same effects by strings its fundamental tone frequency and a whole series of additional harmonics, together with two other fundamental attributes pitch and loudness were analyzed with high-accuracy test instrument. When the relationship between the physical sound and its corresponding electrical and mechanical expression was understood, the key to the size, material, tension for each string, as well as the modulus of elasticity required for the reproduction of kettledrum sounds by said strings was discovered as well as the crux or heart of this invention. The method of playing remains the same as for a kettledrum instrument, this being an essential factor to retain the complete individuality of a conventional instrument when its original sounds are simulated by electrical means. The basic principle is someway similar to the electronic piano (Wurlitzer) which reproduces perfect piano sounds by means of steel reeds, placed in a reedbar assembly. No piano strings or piano sound-board was retained but the method of playing remains the same.
The strings are equi-distantly spread apart from each other on the rectangularly shaped metal frame so as to allow the strokes of two felt-tipped drumsticks on one string (for melody or roll) and four drumsticks (on four different strings for a chord) without touching the intermediate strings, said strings are tuned from a low-kettledrum C to the octave higher C, corresponding to the range and pitch of a chromatic scale as performed in a symphonic orchestra by the percussion instruments of the kettledrum section, said strings consist of three layers of spirally wound copper wire over a steel wire for the four low-pitched strings and two layers for the highpitched strings with an overall diameter ranging from .196" for the low C and gradually diminishing to .128" for the C one octave higher, with a speaking length for same basic notes ranging in length from 22.44 to 21.45" and a tension in pounds from 66 pounds for the low C to 101 pounds for the high C. The diameter of the cored steel wire is the same for each string unless some additional strings of a higher-pitch are desired. In this case also the overall-diameter speaking length and tension would be diflerent for each additional strings and notes; said strings are tuned by utilizing a standard piano-type tuning key and each string is named after the note corresponding to its pitch. Said strings with their diameter, length, frequency tension and material produce when struck the modulus of elasticity required to obtain the harmonic frequencies as effected by a low-pitched musical sound or note and produce a decay in loudness which tends to simulate the loudness decay effected by the cavity of the hollow-cylinder of the kettledrum.
The amplifier-speaker combination The amplifier replaces the hollow-cylinder sound box of the kettledrum. Timber, pitch, loudness together with harmonic structure, are the elementary physical realities of musical sound, the absolute against which the strings were constructed and for connection to an amplifier and speaker combination. Said amplifier-speaker combination being the sound-box of the instrument and in this case must produce the resonance effects of deepness and fullness as if emerging from a cavity such as the one of the hollow-cylinder of the kettledrum.
To obtain these effects the amplifier-speaker combination must comprise: a base-filter adjusting precisely the bass-frequencies as required for a low-pitched sounds instrument; a reverberation unit consisting of a device regulating the repetitive reflection of the sound-waves and a reverberation speaker of exceptional depth to effect an impression as if the sounds were emanating from a cavity; the amplifier must deliver at least watts music peakpower to drive the two Woofer-speakers from a delicate pianissimo to a riotous percussion outburst as effected by the percussion instruments of a symphonic orchestra; the two woofer speakers with their exceptional bass-frequencies complete the amplifier-speaker combination in producing the tone-color for which this invention was conceived.
What we claim is:
1. An electronically amplified musical instrument simulating the sounds of a kettledrum comprising: a rectangularly shaped metal frame supported by four adjustable metal legs at each corner thereof, at least thirteen equi-distantly spaced hitch-pins anchored across a first side of said frame and at least thirteen similarly spaced tuning pins attached to a tuning bar located near a side opposite to and parallel with said first side of said frame, a timbre regulated pick-up bar including at least thirteen spaced electro-magnetic pick-up means each having a control screw therethrough and located between and parallel to said aforementioned sides, said pick-up bar adapted for connection to an amplifier and speaker combination, a first and second bridge means each of sutficient length to be placed across said frame, said first bridge means consisting of a straight member mounted near and parallel with one of said sides while said second bridge means consisting of a serpentine-shaped member located near the other of said sides, a dampening bar located between and parallel to said sides, said dampening bar consisting of at least thirteen piano-type dampers spaced thereacross, and at least thirteen strings of varying diameter mounted and stretched between pairs of said hitch and tuning pins and across, each of said bridges, pick-up bar and dampening bar, whereby said strings in cooperation with said members and bars simulate the percussive sounds of a kettledrum when struck by felt-tipped drumsticks or the like and amplified by said amplifier and speaker combination.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein each of strings consist of two or three layers of spirally wound copper wire over a steel wire, and wherein each of said magnetic pick-up means consist of a ferrite core.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,929,029 10/ 1933 Miessner 841.l6 1,961,410 6/1934 Wegel 84-116 X 2,920,522 1/1960 Armond 84-116 2,961,912 11/1960 Meola 841.16 X 3,069,954 12/1962 Lover et al 841.16 X 3,185,755 5/1965 Williams et al 841.16 X
JOHN S. HEYMAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 841.16, 1.26
US791203A 1968-12-23 1968-12-23 Electronic stringed musical instrument of percussion Expired - Lifetime US3474180A (en)

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE3423374A1 (en) * 1984-06-25 1986-01-02 Helmut 7022 Leinfelden-Echterdingen Jüngling Electronic string instrument
WO1994015329A1 (en) * 1992-12-18 1994-07-07 Konstantin Vasilije Percussion instrument with strings
EP0651370A1 (en) * 1993-10-29 1995-05-03 Martin Gebhardt Method and apparatus for generating sound from a percussion instrument
US20050120862A1 (en) * 2003-12-03 2005-06-09 Frazier Theodore G. Apparatus and method for practicing drumming

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1929029A (en) * 1931-11-06 1933-10-03 Miessner Inventions Inc Apparatus for the production of music
US1961410A (en) * 1932-03-31 1934-06-05 Bell Telephone Labor Inc Sound energy translating apparatus
US2920522A (en) * 1956-01-25 1960-01-12 Armond Harry De Musical instrument
US2961912A (en) * 1958-06-17 1960-11-29 Edward F Meola Pick for metallic stringed instruments
US3069954A (en) * 1957-01-09 1962-12-25 Gibson Inc Metallic stringed musical instruments
US3185755A (en) * 1961-06-12 1965-05-25 Scope Inc Musical device

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1929029A (en) * 1931-11-06 1933-10-03 Miessner Inventions Inc Apparatus for the production of music
US1961410A (en) * 1932-03-31 1934-06-05 Bell Telephone Labor Inc Sound energy translating apparatus
US2920522A (en) * 1956-01-25 1960-01-12 Armond Harry De Musical instrument
US3069954A (en) * 1957-01-09 1962-12-25 Gibson Inc Metallic stringed musical instruments
US2961912A (en) * 1958-06-17 1960-11-29 Edward F Meola Pick for metallic stringed instruments
US3185755A (en) * 1961-06-12 1965-05-25 Scope Inc Musical device

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE3423374A1 (en) * 1984-06-25 1986-01-02 Helmut 7022 Leinfelden-Echterdingen Jüngling Electronic string instrument
WO1994015329A1 (en) * 1992-12-18 1994-07-07 Konstantin Vasilije Percussion instrument with strings
EP0651370A1 (en) * 1993-10-29 1995-05-03 Martin Gebhardt Method and apparatus for generating sound from a percussion instrument
US20050120862A1 (en) * 2003-12-03 2005-06-09 Frazier Theodore G. Apparatus and method for practicing drumming

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