A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT, A METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME
AND A KEY THEREFOR
The invention relates to a musical instrument, a method of making a musical instrument of this same type and a key for a musical instrument of the aforementioned type.
Concert-standard musical instruments are commonly hand-made, at least in part, and are consequently expensive to purchase. Woodwind instruments in particular involve a substantial amount of hand-working.
It is known to manufacture a clarinet body from a plastics material. In one known process, the body is moulded in a cylindrical form with a conical central mandril which must be withdrawn at a critical time in order to achieve an adequately small taper. This process results in a plastics body which requires virtually as much hand-working as a wooden clarinet body, particularly on the inside, since undercut features are impossible to form by moulding, and also in the attachment of keys.
Another known process involves the moulding of two separate halves of a plastics body and the subsequent joining of these parts to form the instrument (see, for example, GB 1 188 481 WEST and GB 636 245 RENO). However, if keys are to be added to these known instruments after manufacture of the body, a substantial amount of hand working is still required. The keys are still time-consuming and awkward to fit.
GB 1 131 065 PROLL disclses a toy trumpet manufactured from a plastics material in two longitudinal portions. Valves are inserted between the portions during manufacture. However, the finished product is not of a high tonal quality and the valves cannot be replaced after the manufacturing process has been completed.
An object of the invention is to provide a musical instrument of concert standard manufactured in such a way that the amount of hand-working is substantially reduced.
A further object of the invention is to provide a musical instrument of concert standard which has easily attachable and replaceable keys.
The invention provides a musical instrument comprising a tubular body having a plurality of tone holes and a
plurality of playing keys, characterised in that the keys are removably attached to the body by means of resilient deformation, such that each key may be easily, quickly and accurately replaced.
By providing keys which are removably attached to the body by means of resilient deformation, the keys may be quickly and easily attached to the body subsequent to the manufacture of the body. The time required to attach the keys (and therefore the production cost of the instrument) is therefore substantially reduced.
Preferably the keys are snap-fitted into fittings on the body of the instrument.
Preferably the body Is moulded of a plastics material in two longitudinal portions, preferably with integrally moulded fittings for the keys, the longitudinal portions being joined along abutment faces thereof prior to the attachment of the keys.
The moulding of the body in two longitudinal portions allows precise moulding of the internal features of the instrument body. Tone holes with internal countersinks can be integrally moulded into each portion. Grooves can be moulded into the abutment faces of one or both of the portions such that, when the portions are joined,
undercut recesses are formed in the body. Undercut recesses cannot be formed directly by moulding.
The invention also provides a key for a musical instrument as described above and characterised in that the key is at least partially deformable to facilitate attachment to and removal from the musical instrument.
Preferably the key has a tone-hole cover having a removable seal for sealing a respective tone hole.
Such a key is easy to attach initially to the musical instrument in question and is also easy to replace when necessary. The need for extensive hand working when attaching the keys is therefore obviated.
The invention further provides a method of making a musical instrument as described above comprising the steps of manufacturing the tubular body of the instrument and subsequent ly attaching keys thereto, characterised in that the keys are removably attached to the body by means of resilient deformation.
Preferably the body is moulded in two longitudinal portions which are subsequently joined along abutment faces thereof.
Preferably the keys are snap-fitted into recesses moulded into the longitudinal portions.
Further features of the invention will become apparent during the following description of preferred embodiments of all aspects of the invention.
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 is a plan view of the interior of an upper longitudinal portion of the body of a musical instrument according to the invention;
Fig. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line II-II of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a plan view of the exterior of the portion of Figs. 1 and 2 with keys attached;
Fig. 4 is a plan view of the interior of a lower longitudinal portion corresponding to the upper portion of Figs. 1 to 3;
Fig. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line V-V of Fig. 4;
Fig. 6 is a plan view of the exterior of the portion of
Figs. 4 and 5;
Fig. 7 is a sectional view taken along the lines VII-VII shown in Figs. 1 and 4 with the upper and lower longitudinal portions joined together;
Fig. 8 is a side view of a first key;
Fig. 9(a) is a side view of a second key;
Fig. 9(b) is an end view of the second key of Fig. 9(a);
Fig. 10(a) is a side view of a third key;
Fig. 10(b) is an end view of the third key of Fig. 10(a);
Fig. 10(c) is a plan view of the third key of Figs. 10(a) and 10(b);
Fig. 11(a) is a section through the cover of any one key;
Fig. 11(b) is a sectional view of a seal for use with the key cover of Fig. 11(a);
Fig. 12 is a perspective view of a short length of the body of a musical instrument according to the invention showing alternative means by which keys may be attached;
Figs. 13(a), (b) and (c) are plan, side and front views respectively of a fourth key;
Figs. 14(a) and (b) are front and plan views respectively of a fifth key;
Figs. 15(a), (b) and (c) are plan, side and front views respectively of a sixth key;
Figs. 16(a), (b) and (c) are plan, side and front views respectively of a seventh key;
Fig. 17 is a plan view showing the combined operation of the sixth and seventh keys; and
Fig. 18 is a perspective view of part of a mouthpiece for use with the body shown in Figs. 1 to 7.
A clarinet according to the invention has a body comprising two longitudinal portions moulded separately from a plastics material. Figs. 1 to 3 show an upper longitudinal portion 10 having a substantially half-cylindrical shape. The upper portion 10 has an outer part-cylindrical surface 11, an inner part-cylindrical surface 12 and two abutment faces 13. the inner surface 12 is perfectly uniform in cross
section for the majority of the length of the upper portion 10 and diverges towards one end 10' of the upper portion 10.
Tone holes 15 are arranged colinearly along the upper portion 10 and are located midway between the abutment faces 13. The tone holes 15 are spaced along the upper portion 10 at predetermined positions such that a required range of notes may be obtained when the instrument is played. Each tone hole 15 has a conical countersink 16 adjacent the inner surface 12 by means of which the quality of the notes is improved. The tone holes 15 and countersinks 16 are moulded integrally with the upper portion 10.
Also moulded integrally with the upper portion 10 are substantially T-shaped grooves 17 located in the abutment faces 13 adjacent the outer surface 11. Each T-shaped groove 17 in the upper portion 10 correspondes to a similar T-shaped groove in a lower portion as described below. Corresponding T-shaped grooves combine to form T-shaped recesses in the instrument body which are adapted to receive keys as described below in a snap-fit manner.
Fig. 3 shows a plan view of the exterior of the upper portion 10 with three keys 80, 90, 100 attached by means
of grooves 17. The keys 80, 90, 100 are adapted to cover tone holes 15 and are described in detail below. Keys 80 and 90 are pivotable about key supports 21 located on the outer surface 11 and which are also integrally moulded with the upper portion 10.
Figs. 4 to 6 show a lower longitudinal portion 40. suitable for joining to the upper portion 10 shown in Figs. 1 to 3. The lower portion 40 also has a substantially half-cylindrical shape, with an outer part-cylindrical surface 41, an inner part-cylindrical surface 42 and two abutment faces 43. The inner surface 42 is perfectly uniform in cross section for the majority of the length of the lower portion 40 and corresponds to the uniformity of the inner surface 12 of the upper portion 10. The inner surface 42 diverges towards an end 40' of the lower portion 40. Tone holes 45 are arranged colinearly in the lower portion 40 and are located midway between the abutment faces 43. The tone holes 45 are surrounded by tubular protrusions 46 extending beyond the outer and inner surfaces 41, 42 of the lower portion 40. The protrusions 46 improve the quality of the notes produced by the instrument and are moulded integrally with the lower portion 40.
As mentioned above, T-shaped grooves 47 corresponding to
those of the upper portion 10 are located in the abutment faces 43 adjacent the outer surface 41. The grooves 47 are also moulded integrally with the lower portion 40. The grooves 47 are located in the abutment faces 43 such that they will be aligned with the grooves 17 of the upper portion 10 when the upper and lower portions 10, 40 are joined by their abutment faces 13, 43. The lower portion 40 may also comprise a thumb rest (not shown) which may be adjustable or fixed.
Fig. 7 shows a section taken through the body 70 of an instrument comprising an upper portion 10 and a lower portion 40. The lines VII-VII shown in Figs. 1 and 4 indicate the section taken. The inner surfaces 12, 42 form a perfectly cylindrical bore for the body 70 when the portions 10, 40 are joined by welding along their abutment faces 13,43. The grooves 17,47 combine to form T-shaped recesses 77 in the side of the body 70 for receiving keys in a snap-fit manner.
Figs, 8, 9 and 10 show keys 80, 90, 100 adapted for use with a body 70 as described above. In Fig. 8, the key 80 has resilient feet 81 which may be received by recesses 77 in the body 70 (see Fig. 7). The feet 81 may be pressed together against the resilient bias and snap-fitted into the recess. The key 80 also has pivot bases 82 which abut against the key supports 21 shown in
Fig. 3 and about which tone-hole covers 83 pivot. The tone-hole covers 83 are adapted to cover and seal a tone hole 15 when pressed towards the body 70. The tone-hole covers 83 are urged away from the body 70 by means of a spring section 84 shaped to provide sufficient resilience to retain the tone-hole covers 83 in a position away from the body 70 when not required to seal a tone hole, but also allowing the tone-hole covers 83 to be pressed towards the body 70 with little effort. The length of the spring portion 84 is such that the key 80 cannot be displaced from the key supports 21 once the feet 81 have been engaged with the recesses.
Figs. 9(a) and (b) show a key 90 similar to that shown in Fig. 8. The key 90 has two sets of resilient feet 91, each adapted to be snap-fitted into a recess 77 (see Fig. 7). Fig. 9(b) shows a side view of the spring portions 94 which retain the tone-hole covers 93 in the required position until pressure is applied.
Figs. 10(a), (b) and (c) show a different type of key 100 which may be used to cover the tone holes 15 adjacent ends 10' and 40' of the portions 10,40. The key 100 may be mounted on the instrument body by means of pegs and recesses in the body. Feet 101 are snap-fittable into the recesses and spring portions 104 abut against pegs such that the tone-hole cover 103 is
retained away from the body when not required to seal a tone hole. Extending beyond the feet 101 are pivot portions 105 having pegs 106 which, when pulled by means of e.g. pull-rods (not shown) in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body 70, cause rotation of the pivot portions 105 and thus the tone-hole covers 103 against the resilient bias of the spring portions 104. Thus a tone hole may be sealed by operation of a pull-rod from a position remote from the tone hole. The key 100 may also be shaped such that two such keys may be positioned in opposite directions as shown in Fig. 10(c). The spring portions on such reversed keys may abut against pegs in the opposite sense, such that the tone-hole cover seals a tone hole until operated by a pull-rod. More than one such key may also be operated by a single pull-rod.
All of the above described keys 80, 90, 100 may be integrally moulded from a plastics material. Polyacetyl in its co-polymer form is a suitable material having good resilient characteristics. Each key is replaceable merely by removing the defective key and snap-fitting a new one into the appropriate T-shaped recess. This may be achieved by hand with no tools.
The recesses shown in the embodiment described above are substantially T-shaped. However, it is equally possible
to achieve the same result using L-shaped recesses, the aim being to produce an undercut recess by joining two non-undercut grooves or one such groove and a flat surface.
A further feature of the keys 80, 90, 100 is that each tone-hole cover 83, 93, 103 may be formed with a cross-section as shown in Fig. 11(a). Inside each cover 113 is a recess 117 moulded integrally with the cover 113 which is adapted for receiving a sealing pad 118 as shown in Fig. 11(b). Such a sealing pad may be made of silicone rubber and is replaceably snap-fitted inside the cover 113 by means of the recess 117 and a small tongue 119 located on the sealing pad 118 which is slightly conical. Such a pad may have a life longer than that of a commonly used hide pad and would be easy and cheap to replace. Small misalignments of the key cover are easily compensated by the resilience of the sealing pad 118.
Keys may also be attached to the body by means other than the T-shaped or L-shaped recesses; examples of alternative fittings are shown in Fig. 12.
Fig. 12 shows a body 120 of a musical instrument having fittings 121, 122, 123 for keys. A groove 121 extends longitudinally along the body 120 and has a blind recess
121' for receiving part of a foot of a key. A key 130 suitable for attachment to the body by means of the groove 121 is shown in Fig. 13.
A pair of complementary keys 150', 160 which operate together are attached to the body 120 by means of lugs 122 and grooves 123. The lugs 122 and grooves 123 are moulded integrally with the body 120 which is manufactured in two portions. Holes 122' for receiving the feet of the key 150' are formed in the lugs 122 on joining of the two portions prior to the attachment of the key 150'.
Fig. 13 shows the key 130 in greater detail. The key 130 has feet 131 adapted to be received in the groove 121 of Fig. 12. One of the feet 131 has a toe 131' adapted to be received in the recess 121'. The key 130 is made of a resilient plastics material and can be snap-fitted into the groove 121 such that pivotal movement within the groove 121 is allowed. Biassing means (not shown) are provided in order to bias the key 130 into a position wherein the tone-hole cover is spaced away from the tone hole to be covered by the key.
Fig. 14 shows a key 140 having similar features to that
shown in Fig. 13. The attachment means are similar in that feet 141 are provided with a toe 141' for snap-fitting into a groove similar to groove 121' shown in Fig.12.
Figs. 15 and 16 show two keys 150, 160 which operate together. The key 150 has feet 151 which can engage with the holes 122' in the lugs 122 shown in Fig. 12. The key 150 has a hemispherical recess 152 on its underside which cooperates with a part-spherical portion 162 on the upper part of the key 160. The feet 161 of the key 160 fit into the grooves 123 shown in Fig. 12. and the key 160 is held in position by means of the key 150. The manner in which the keys 150, 160 fit together is shown in Fig. 17. Biassing means (not shown) hold the keys 150, 160 in a position wherein the respective tone holes are covered. When the finger pad 163 is depressed, the part-spherical portion 162 rotates within the recess 152 without displacing the key 150. Thus the tone hole covered by the key 150 is opened. When the finger pad 153 is depressed, interengaging tongues (not shown) cause the key 160 to be rotated with the key 150 and the tone holes covered by both keys 150, 160 are opened.
The body described in detail above must be able to
receive a mouth piece and bell in order to become a playable instrument. Conventional connecting portions are provided on the body to allow conventional wooden bells and mouthpieces to be attached. Bells and mouthpieces may also be integrally moulded from plastics material. Features of a plastics mouthpiece may include a reed guard which may be snap-fitted into place, and ligature mounting portions which may be integrally moulded with the mouthpiece. 'O'-ring seals may be provided between the bell and mouth piece and the body.
A particularly advantageous form of mouthpiece is one manufactured from two previously moulded longitudinal portions. One such portion is shown in Fig. 18. The mouthpiece 180 has abutment faces 183 along which the portion 180 is joined to a similar portion. The advantage of manufacturing the mouthpiece in two longitudinal portions is that the central bore 184 can be moulded with a smoothly contoured wall which increases the tonal quality of the finished instrument.
The instrument described above is a high quality, robust, inexpensive clarinet suitable for teaching. Vulnerable parts are easily replaceable and the complete instrument is lightweight and easy for e.g. a child of 8-10 years to play. The arrangement of the keys is such that conversion to an alternative clarinet requires
It is envisaged that other instruments may be constructed in a similar way to that described above. Suitable instruments would be the flute, oboe, saxophone and maybe other woodwind or brass instruments. It is also possible to apply replaceable snap-fitting keys to instruments manufactured in other ways. Conventionally mounted keys may also be adapted to receive replaceable snap-fitting sealing pads of synthetic materials, or alternatively, a synthetic sealing pad may be mounted on an existing key without modification by engagement of a resilient outer lip of the sealing pad with the, external surface of the key.
The body of the instrument described above may be easily manufactured by moulding the two longitudinal portions shown in Figs. 1 to 6 complete with all of the fittings and interior features, including countersunk tone holes and recesses and grooves to receive keys. The portions can then be joined along the abutment faces by, for example, welding. The keys, which are moulded separately from a plastics material, can then be snap-fitted into position on the body. Biassing means (e.g. leaf springs) may be required to be attached to
some keys and this can be carried out either before or during the snap-fitting of the keys onto the body. Naturally, the keys required to be fitted to the body will not all be identical and care must be taken to attach the keys in appropriate positions on the body.
A mouthpiece and bell must be attached to the body to form a playable instrument. This can be carried out either before or after the attachment of the keys. The mouthpiece and/or bell can be of standard design, or may be manufactured in two longitudinal portions as described above. The mouthpiece and bell could also be moulded integrally with the longitudinal portions if desired.