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Publication numberUS3674910 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date4 Jul 1972
Filing date17 Jun 1970
Priority date17 Jun 1970
Publication numberUS 3674910 A, US 3674910A, US-A-3674910, US3674910 A, US3674910A
InventorsMckenzie James G
Original AssigneeMckenzie James G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Chromatic harmonica
US 3674910 A
Images(5)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent McKenzie 51 Jul 4, 1972 [54] CHROMATIC HARMONICA James G. McKenzie, PO. Box 1982, Orange, Calif. 92668 [22] Filed: June 17,1970

[2]] Appl.No.: 47,010

[72] lnventor:

Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-John F. Gonzales Attorney-Eric P. Schellin [5 7] ABSTRACT A chromatic harmonica employing a pair of independently movable, manually actuated valve slides with predetermined patterns of lands and apertures formed therein. Such slides are disposed behind the mouthpiece and before the comb and reed plates in the path of flow for the breath expelled by the person playing this instrument. The comb and reed plate is designed so that each cell in the comb is subdivided into a plurality of wind cells with a separate reed for each wind cell, and four wind cells are exposed to each opening in the mouthpiece of the harmonica. By proper manipulation of the pair of valve slides three of the four wind cells operatively associated with each opening are blocked by appropriate lands in the slides; thus, only the single reed within the selected wind cell is placed in communication with the mouthpiece to receive the breath expelled thereinto. Consequently, with this unique configuration of coacting elements, the instant harmonica may be played in a unidirectional, all-blow, or all-draw fashion approximating the operation of a woodwind instrument. Furthermore, such harmonica is capable of producing all of the notes of the chromatic scale with a more nearly consistent smoothness of transition from one note to the next, and more trills are available.

9 Claims, 23 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 4 #972 SHEET 10F INVENTOR JAMES G. MCKENZIE ML! #Wwcwu ATTORNE YS PATENTEDJUL 4 I972 sum 3 0F 5 FIG. /0.

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INVENTOR JAMES G. MCKENZIE BY "WW ATTORNEYS CHROMATIC HARMONICA BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the lnvention The instant invention relates generally to harmonicas, mouth organs and similar wind instruments utilizing multiple tuned vibrating reeds for producing musical notes, and more particularly, to improvements in the structural configuration and operational characteristics of such instruments by the provision therein of a pair of independently movable valve slides that control the unidirectional flow of air through the instrument.

2. Description of the Prior An Harmonicas, mouth organs and similar multiple reed wind instruments of conventional design are played by controlling the pattern of inhalation and exhalation of ones breath through a series of openings in the mouthpiece of the instrument. These openings, in turn, communicate with a comb divided into a cellular configuration by a unitary lateral partition and a plurality of closely spaced longitudinal walls. A plurality of tuned, vibratable reeds are positioned in operative relationship for producing musical tones as the breath, or air, passes through the casing and exits or enters at the rear thereof.

A note produced in response to the inhalation of breath is designated as a draw note, and a note produced in response to the exhalation of breath is designated as a blow note. Accordingly, most known harmonicas are played in a blow and draw fashion. The more versatile chromatic harmonica is distinguished from its diatonic counterpart by the provision of a manually operable perforated valve slide that selectively covers, or uncovers, the particular reeds tuned to the scale of C thus providing all notes of the 12 tone chromatic scale. The manipulation of the perforated valve slide must be coordinated with the pattern of blow and draw operations for satisfactory results.

Representative chromatic harmonicas employing such perforated valve slides are disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,179,993, granted to Davies, and US. Pat. Nos. 2,339,790 and 2,384,758, both granted to Magnus. However, these patented structures, as well as the other harmonica configurations which rely upon the blow and draw technique and are currently available through commercial channels, are inherently subject to numerous structural and operational shortcomings by virtue of this reliance upon the blow and draw technique.

For example, it is diflicult to perform a smooth transition from a blow note to a draw note, and vice versa, because of the reversal of the player's breath flow from exhalation to inhalation. The transition from one blow note to another blow note, or from one draw note to another draw note, is easier to perform in a smooth manner for the players breath flow is unidirectional. Consequently, with conventional harmonicas, some transitions are smoother than others and inconsistencies in producing the same note adversely affect the quality of a performance.

Flap valves have frequently been employed on chromatic hannonicas as a wind or breath saving device. However, these valves eventually wear out and must be replaced, thus causing inconvenience and expense. Furthermore, such valves occasionally vibrate in sympathy with the reeds within the casing, thus creating undesirable buzzing sounds. Lastly, the rapid reversal, or bidirectional flow through the instrument, of one 's breathing pattern necessitated by a sequence of blow and draw notes has adversely affected the clarity, flexibility and uniformity of tonal quality of known harmonicas.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,459,184, granted to Rutfino, sets forth one proposed harmonica configuration for eliminating the need for valves. Such harmonica employs a comb divided by a unitary lateral partition and a series of vertically extending walls into a cellular configuration, with a first set of cells located below the partition and a corresponding second set of cells located above the partition. A pair of blow reeck are disposed within each cell of the upper set of cells, and a pair of draw reeds are disposed within each cell of the lower set of cells.

Each opening in the mouthpiece is large enough to communicate with a pair of cells of the upper set and a corresponding pair of cells of the lower set. Thus, the harmonica is so arranged that four air passages with four individual reeds share a common mouth opening.

In order to isolate, or render ineflective, three of the four reeds operatively associated with each opening in the mouthpiece, a pair of control valves are employed in the Ruffino harmonica. The first control valve assumes the fonn of a perforated valve slide, such slide being laterally shiftable to cover either of the vertical pair of cells communicating with each opening in the mouthpiece. The second control valve assumes the form of a pivotable valve shaft with a series of plastic flap valves secured thereon. The flap valves, which are disposed between the mouthpiece and the cellular comb, oscillate between a pair of seats to close off either the lower cell or the upper cell within the pair of vertically aligned cells selected by the manipulation of the perforated valve slide. Consequently, air or breath is blown through such harmonica when the oscillating valve is in one position, and air or breath is drawn through such harmonica in the reverse direction when the oscillating valve is in its other position.

Although the use of the oscillatable flap valve in conjunction with the well known perforated control lever in a blow and draw chromatic harmonica may well have minimized a few of the numerous shortcomings of these instruments detailed above, many of the basic inherent defects remain uncorrected at the present time. These defects have reduced the feasibility of a simplified low-cost and efiicient chromatic harmonica that is easy to manufacture and yet can produce sounds of excellent tonal quality.

SUMMARY Thus, with the deficiencies of the prior art harmonicas enumerated above in mind, the preferred embodiment of the instant invention contemplates an efiicient chromatic harmonica comprising components of relatively simple design that enables an all-blow or all-draw mode of operation. This primary objective of unidirectional flow through the casing at all times is achieved in the instant invention by providing a unique second perforated slide having a pattern of lands and apertures that cooperate with the pattern of lands and apertures found in the conventional first perforated slide which controls the semi-tones of the chromatic scale. The two slides, which are independently movable, are operatively disposed between the openings in the mouthpiece and the plurality of tuned reeds within the casing located in registry with the comb. Such comb is divided by a lateral partition and a series of closely spaced vertical walls into an upper set of wind cells and a lower set of wind cells. A blow reed is disposed in each wind cell, and each opening in the mouthpiece communicates with a pair of upper wind cells and a pair of lower wind cells. By proper manipulation of the pair of independently movable perforated slides, three of the four wind cells associated with each opening are completely covered by the lands in the slides and only the selected fourth wind cell and the blow reed disposed in operative relation thereto can be actuated by expelling ones breath. To insure proper alignment and movement of the perforated slides, each slide is spring loaded to a home position and moves laterally between a pair of interlocking guides.

In an alternative embodiment, the orientation of the reed plates is reversed, and ones breath is inhaled, rather than expelled, thus producing an all-draw harmonica.

In both the preferred and alternative embodiments of the instant harmonica, the construction of the reed plate assemblies is simplified for the reeds are mounted on only one surface of each reed plate, e.g., the bottom surface of the top plate and the top surface of the bottom plate in the all-blow embodiment.

Furthermore, more trills are available with the instant harmonica than are possible with conventional, slide-type chromatic harmonicas.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chromatic harmonica constructed in accordance with the principles of the instant invennon.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the mouthpiece, the perforated slides, the guides for said slides, and the comb employed within the instant invention.

FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the harmonica depicting, inter alia, the relationship of a wind cell to a tuned reed operatively associated therewith, such view being taken along line 33 of FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the harmonica and the movable slides, a central section of the body of the harmonica having been removed therefrom.

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic representation of one note arrangement that can be played by the manipulation of the two movable slides of FIG. 2 into one of four operative positions.

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the right hand comer of the harmonica showing both of the slides in their unactuated, home position.

FIG. 7 is a view identical to FIG. 6, but the slide closest to the viewer has been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

FIG. 8 is a view identical to FIG. 6, but the slide furthest from the viewer has been shifted laterally into its actuated position.

FIG. 9 is a view identical to FIG. 6, but both slides have been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

FIG. 10 is a legend for correlating the movement of the slides depicted in FIGS. 6-9.

FIG. 1 l is a front elevational view of the left hand comer of an alternative embodiment of the harmonica, such view showing diagrammatically the notes operatively associated with each opening in the mouthpiece.

FIG. 12 is an exploded, partial perspective of a pair of perforated slides employed with an alternative embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 13 is a legend for correlating the movement of the slides depicted in FIG. 12.

FIG. I4 is a front elevational view of the right hand comer of the harmonica showing both of the slides of FIG. 12 in their unactuated, home position.

FIG. 15 is a view identical to FIG. 14, but the slide closest to the viewer has been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

F IG. 16 is a view identical to FIG. 14, but the slide furthest from the viewer has been shifted laterally into its actuated position.

FIG. 17 is a view identical to FIG. 14, but both slides have been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

FIG. 18 is a diagrammatic representation of one note arrangement that can be played by the manipulation of the two movable slides of FIG. 12 into one of four operative positions.

FIG. 19 is a front elevational view of the right hand corner of the harmonica showing an alternative configuration of the slides of FIG. 12 in their unactuated, home position.

FIG. 20 is a view identical to FIG. 19, but the slide closest to the viewer has been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

FIG. 21 is a view identical to FIG. 19 but the slide furthest from the viewer has been shifted laterally into the actuated position.

FIG. 22 is a view identical to FIG. 19 but both slides have been shifted laterally into the actuated position; and

FIG. 23 is a diagrammatic representation of another note arrangement that can be played by the manipulation of the two movable slides of FIG. 12 into one of four operative positions.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now in greater detail to the drawings in which similar reference numerals refer to similar components, FIG. 1 depicts an all-blow harmonica with a mouthpiece 10 having a series of 12 horizontally aligned rectangular openings of equal dimensions formed therein, such openings being designated 12a 12!. The mouthpiece is secured to the substantially rectangular body of the harmonica, indicated generally by reference numeral 14, by screws 16 located in threaded holes 18 located adjacent to opposite ends of the mouthpiece. A short length of plastic tubing 17 may be slipped over the screws.

A first slide 20, having a knob 22 at its right end, extends laterally across the width of the harmonica body 14 and is disposed close to mouthpiece 10. A second slide 24, having a knob 26 at its upwardly extending right end also extends laterally across the width of the hannonica body. Slide 24 is disposed behind slide 20 and in front of the harmonica body; phrased in another manner, slide 24 is further away from mouthpiece 10 than slide 20.

A curved metallic u-per cover 28 with an upstruck rear lip 29 overlies the upper surface of body 14 and has flanges 30 and 32 at its opposite ends for securement purposes. An upper reed plate 34 and a lower reed plate 36 (shown in FIG. 3), which are equal in size and shape to the upper and lower surfaces of body 14, are joined thereto. Bolts 38 and 40 pass through flanges 30 and 32 of upper cover 28 and through reed plate 34 to thereby retain these members in place upon body 14. The lower reed plate 36 and the lower cover member, not visible in FIG. 1, are secured to the underside of body 14 by the same bolts.

Turning now to FIG. 2, it is noted that the upper and lower covers and the corresponding reed plates 34 and 36 have been omitted from this view and that the remainder of the components of the instant chromatic harmonica are shown in an exploded perspective for the sake of clarity. The components are examined in sequence from front to back, thus defining the path of the flow of air or breath utilized in playing this instrument in an all-blow mode.

Mouthpiece 10 has a tapered upper surface and a tapered lower surface, which facilitates positioning of the harmonica within the mouth of the player. Openings l2a-l2l have slanted surfaces which taper inwardly to facilitate the passage of air or breath into the interior of the harmonica.

A first guide 42 is located behind mouthpiece l0 and in front of slide 20. Guide 42 has a slot 44 at its right hand end, and a matching slot 46 at its left hand end. These slots have a narrow entranceway and an enlarged circular inner terminal portion, which enable screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure guide 42 in fixed relation to body 14.

The lateral extent of guide 42 is divided into 24 rectangular apertures 48, the lower series of apertures being identified as 48a-48, respectively, and the upper series of apertures being identified as 48m-48x, respectively. The size and orientation of apertures 48 is such that apertures 48a and 48m in the slide are always exposed to opening 12a in mouthpiece l0, and openings 481 and 48x are always exposed to opening 121. Similar relationships are established along the length of the mouthpiece.

Guide 42 has an upper lip 50, which extends rearwardly for a distance greater than the thickness of slide 20. Tangs 52, 53 and 54 are formed on the lip for securement and alignment purposes, for reasons that will become apparent at a later point in this description.

The first perforated slide 20 is located behind guide 42, and such slide has slots 56 and 57 at its opposite ends. These slots enable screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure the slide to the body 14 of the harmonica. In contradistinction to the circular slots in the fixed guide 42, however, the length of slots 56, 57 is sufficient to permit lateral movement of the slide relative to guide 42 and body 14.

Slide 20 also has a pattern of 13 vertically aligned apertures 58 with lands 60 spaced therebetween. The lower set of apertures is identified as 58a-58m, and the upper set of 13 apertures is identified as 58n-58z. Apertures 58 are selected to be of a size equal to one-half of the width of aperture 48 in guide 42 and substantially one-half of the width of openings 12 in mouthpiece 10. Stated in another manner, the combined width of each aperture 58 and its adjacent land 60 is substantially equal in size to each opening 12 in mouthpiece l0. Ac-

cordingly, by exerting manual pressure on knob 22 of slide to shift same laterally, lands 60 selectively isolate either the right half or the left half of the air passages fonned between mouthpiece l0 and the reed plates secured to body 14 of the harmonica.

Continuing rearwardly toward body 14, guide 62 has notches 64, 65 and 66 adjacent its opposite ends and at its midpoint to receive therein tangs 52, 53 and 54 of previously described guide 42. A second set of tangs are formed on the rearwardly extending lower lip (not shown) of guide 42 and are received in notches 68, 69 and 70 in the lower surface of guide 62. By virtue of these interlocking tangs, guides 42 and 62 are secured together to form a sheath for perforated slide 20, frequently referred to as the accidental slide. The resultant sheath maintains the accidental slide 20 in proper alignment at all times.

Guide 62 gas a slot 72 at its right hand end and a matching slot 74 at its left hand end. Both slots have a narrow entranceway and an enlarged inner circular terminal protion, which enables screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure guide 62 in fixed relation to body 14.

The lateral extent of guide 62 is divided into 48 rectangular apertures, the lower series of 24 apertures being identified as 76a-76, respectively, and the upper series of 24 apertures being identified as 78a-78x, respectively. The size and orientation of apertures 76 and 78 in the slide is such that apertures 76a, 76b and 78a, 78b are aligned with opening 12a in mouthpiece 10. Similarly, apertures 76w, 76x and 78w, 78x are aligned with opening 121 in mouthpiece 10. Since slide 20 can be moved laterally within the sheath formed by guides 42 and 62, the pattern of lands 60 and apertures 58 selectively interrupt the flow of breath through the harmonica.

For example, if slide 20 is normally biased toward the right by spring means disposed within body 14, then the vertical extent of lands 60 will rest in front of apertures 76b and 78b that are in the flow path for opening 12a in the harmonica; however, flow through apertures 76a and 78a is uninterrupted. lf slide 20 is shifted laterally to the left by exerting manual pressure on knob 22 with the second finger of the right hand, then lands 60 will move in front of openings 76a and 78a and block same; however, flow through openings 76b and 78b is uninterrupted. The same pattern of alternate blocking and unblocking of openings is repeated along the length of guide 62.

Referring again to FIG. 2 and continuing rearwardly toward body 14, a third guide 80 is located behind guide 62 of the first sheath and in front of the second slide 24. Guide 80 has a slot 82 at its right hand end, and a matching slot 84 at its left hand end. Both slots have a narrow entranceway and an enlarged circular inner terminal portion which enables screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure guide 80 in fixed relation to body 14.

The lateral extent of guide 80 is divided into 48 rectangular apertures, the lower series of apertures being identified as 8611-86 and the upper series of apertures being identified as 88a-88, respectively. The size and orientation of apertures 86 and 88 is identical to the apertures 76 and 78 in guide 62; thus, the movement of slide 20 with its pattern of apertures 58 and lands 60 alternately covers, and uncovers, each vertical pair of apertures in guide 80.

Guide 80 has an upper lip 90 which extends rearwardly for a distance greater than the thickness of slide 24. Tangs 92, 94 and 96 are formed along the lip for securement and alignment purposes, in much the same manner as tangs 52, 53 and 53 functioned in the previously described sheath for slide 20.

The second perforated slide 24 is located behind guide 80 and has slots 98 and 100 at its opposite ends to enable screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure the slide to body 14 of the harmonica. In contradistinction to fixed guides 42, 62 and 80, however, the length of the slots is suflicient to permit lateral movement of slide 24 relative to the guides and body 14.

Slide 24 has a pattern of vertically spaced, laterally offset apertures 102 with alternating lands 104 disposed therebetween. The lower set of 12 apertures is identified as 102q-l02l, and the upper set of 13 apertures is identified as l02m-l02y. Apertures 102 are selected to be of a size equal to one-half of the width of apertures 48 in guide 42. Stated in another manner, the combined width of each aperture 102 and its adjacent land 104 is equal in size to each aperture 48 in guide 42. Accordingly, by exerting manual pressure on knob 26 of slide 24 with the third finger of the right hand to shift same laterally, lands 104 selectively isolate either the upper left and lower right quadrant or the lower left and upper right quadrant of the air passages formed between mouthpiece l0 and the reed plates operatively mounted upon body 14 of the harmonica. Manifestly, by proper manipulation of independently movable perforated slides 20 and 24, each air passage has three of its four quadrants blocked or isolated at all times, and only the reed aligned with uninterrupted quadrant of each air passage can be played by expelling or blowing air.

The fourth, and last, guide 106 has a set of three notches 107, 109 and 111 formed in its upper surface to receive therein tangs 92, 94 and 96 of the third guide 80. A similar set of tangs are formed on the rearwardly extending lower lip (not shown) of guide and are received in a set of three notches 113, and 117 in the lower surface of guide 106. By virtue of these interlocking tangs, guides 80 and 106 are secured together to fonn a sheath for perforated slide 24, which is designated as an auxiliary slide to distinguish same from the semi-tone or accidental slide 20. This sheath maintains slide 24 in proper alignment at all times.

Guide 106 has a slot 112 at its right hand end and a matching slot 114 at its left hand end. The slots are shaped to enable screws 16 to pass therethrough and secure guide 106 in fixed relation to body 14. I

The lateral extent of guide 106 is divided into 48 rectangular apertures, the lower series of 24 apertures being identified as 1160-116)? and the upper series of 24 apertures being identified as 118a-1l8x, respectively. The size and orientation of apertures 116 and 118 are identical to apertures 86 and 88 in guide 80. Since slide 24 can be moved laterally within the sheath formed by guides 80 and 106, the pattern of lands 104 serves to interrupt the flow of breath through the harmonica.

Since slide 24 is normally biased toward the right by a cantilever spring, best seen in FIG. 4, the vertical extent of lands 104 will rest in front of apertures 86a and 88b that are in the flow path for opening 12a in the harmonica; however, flow through apertures 86b and 88a is uninterrupted. If slide 24 is shifted laterally to the left, then lands 104 will move in front of apertures 86b and 88a to block same; however, flow through apertures 86a and 88b is uninterrupted. The same pattern of alternate blocking and unblocking of apertures is repeated along the length of guide 80. Manifestly, by the proper manipulation of independently movable slides 20 and 24, three of the four quadrants of the potential flow path associated with the openings 12 in the mouthpiece 10 are blocked by the coacting lands on the slides; consequently, only one quadrant of the potential flow path is uninterrupted and is thus responsive to the blow operation at any time.

The front of the body 14 of the harmonica is located immediately behind rearmost guide 106. Body 14 is divided into 48 individual wind cells by a single horizontal partition and a plurality of closely-spaced vertical walls, and the cross-sectional area of the entrance portion of each wind cell is substantially equal to the area of the apertures in slides 20 and 24. Each of the resultant wind cells communicates with its own tuned vibratable reed secured to plates 34 or 36. The lower series of wind cells is designated 1200-120X, and the upper series of wind cells is designated l22a-l22x. The cross-sectional area of the entrance portion of each wind cell is identical to the area of the apertures in guides 62, 80 and 106, and approximately one-fourth the area of each opening 12 in mouthpiece 10. The surfaces within body 14, which surfaces define the length of the cell, are longest at the left side of the body and gradually diminish toward the right side of the body.

However, since the flow path between each opening in the mouthpiece and its four aligned wind cells is always blocked in three quadrants by the Overlapping lands 60 and 104 on independently movable slides 20 and 24, respectively, only one wind cell at a time and its reed can establish communication with the mouthpiece to be operated therefrom.

A hole 119 is drilled adjacent each end of body 14 to receive screws 16 and thus securely fasten the mouthpiece, sheaths, and slides to the face of the harmonica. Disposed adjacent to holes 119 are cantilever springs 124 and 126, which extend through the slots at the right and left hand of the above noted members. Spring 126, which is slightly longer than spring 124, biases the accidental slide 20 to the right, and spring 124 biases the auxiliary slide 24 to the right.

FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the chromatic harmonica construction showing, on an enlarged scale, the actual spatial relationships followed when the harmonica is assembled. Viewing the components from left to right, one sees the tapered mouthpiece 10, guide 42, perforated slide 20, guide 62, guide 80, second perforated slide 24, and guide 106. The sheath formed by guides 42 and 62 for perforated slide 20 is apparent, as is the sheath formed by guides 80 and 106 for perforated slide 24.

Tuned reeds 34a-34x are riveted at one end to reed plate 34 and are disposed atop the upper wind cells 122a-l22x, while tuned reeds 36a-36x are riveted to reed plate 36 and are disposed beneath the lower wind cells 120a-122x. Each reed is operatively associated with a wind cell. The harmonica assembly is completed by a lower curved cover 128 with a rear lip 129.

The reference character 130 calls attention to a possible flow path through opening 12f of the harmonica when a land 104 on slide 24 isolates the mouthpiece 10 from lower wind cell 120k. Consequently, the breath of air expelled into opening 12f in the mouthpiece will flow directly into wind cell 122k in body 14, and then escape past reed 34k, enter the pocket defined between cover 28 and plate 34, and thence pass into the atmosphere. The rush of air past the tuned reed will cause it to vibrate at the selected frequency and produce the desired musical tone.

FIG. 4 more clearly shows the interrelationship of cantilever springs 124 and 126. These springs have one end wrapped about a vertical post located within body 14 of the harmonica, and the free ends thereof fit into slots at opposite sides of the four guides and two perforated slides. Additionally, the extent of lateral movement for slides 20 and 24 is indicated by appropriate two headed arrows.

FIG. 5 is a four-step schematic or diagrammatic development of the sequence in which the 12 notes on the chromatic scale can be played in an all-blow mode by proper manipulation of perforated slides 20 and 24. The four step sequence is correlated with the four positions of the two slides, as illustrated by FIGS. 6-9. Mouthpiece opening 12k is chosen as a re resentative opening for discussing the operation of the instant harmonica.

Let us assume that the three rightmost blocks in FIG. 5 correspond to openings 12], 12k and 12! in mouthpiece l0, and that four wind cells are available for communication with each opening in the mouthpiece. Also, with respect to FIGS. 6-9, the lands 60 that are shifted by lateral movement of perforated slide 20 are indicated by vertical striping; the lands 104 that are shifted by lateral movement of perforated slide 24 are indicated by horizontal striping. The legend of FIG. further explains this relationship.

Now, with respect to opening 12k if one wishes to play the note G through opening 12k in the mouthpiece, he merely blows therethrough without moving either slide or slide 24. The pattern of lands 60 and 104 on the slides isolates three of the four wind cells and directs the breath through the wind cell located in alignment with the upper left hand quadrant of opening 12k. This position is schematically shown by the first line of FIG. 5 and the corresponding slide position seen in FIG. 6.

Now, if one wishes to produce the note G through opening 12k, he merely blows therethrough after moving accidental slide 20 with lands 60 toward the left against its biasing spring. Auxiliary slide 24 with lands 104 remains in its home position. The lands 60 and 104 cooperate to isolate three of the four wind cells and direct the breath through the wind cell located in alignment with the lower right hand quadrant of opening 12k. This position is shown schematically by the second line of FIG. 5 and the corresponding slide position is seen in FIG. 7; note the directional arrow adjacent slide 20.

Now, if one wishes to produce the note A through opening 12k, he merely blows therethrough after moving auxiliary slide 24 with lands 104 toward the left against its biasing spring. Accidental slide 20 with lands 60 remains in its home position. The lands 60 and 104 cooperate to isolate three of the four wind cells and direct the breath through the wind cell located in alignment with the lower left hand quadrant of opening 12k. This position is shown schematically by the third line of FIG. 5 and the corresponding slide position is seen in FIG. 8; note the directional arrow adjacent slide 24.

Lastly, if one wishes to produce the note A through opening 12k, he merely blows therethrough after moving both accidental slide 20 and auxiliary slide 24 to the left against their biasing springs. Once again, the lands 60 and 104 cooperate to isolate three of the four wind cells and direct the breath through the wind cell located in alignment with the upper right hand quadrant of opening 12k. This position is shown schematically by the fourth line of FIG. 5 and the corresponding slide position is seen in FIG. 9; note the directional arrows adjacent slides 20 and 24.

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of the instant chromatic harmonica and FIG. 12 illustrates the pattern of apertures and lands that would be employed. Accidental slide 20 has laterally offset and vertically spaced apertures 58' with intervening lands 60'. Auxiliary slide 24' has vertically aligned apertures 102 and land 104'. Once again by proper manipulation of the pair of independently movable slides three of the four wind cells operatively associated with each opening in the mouthpiece of the harmonica are isolated and a single tuned reed is actuated.

The preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1-10 is played in allblow mode. Either embodiment could be played in an all-draw mode if the tuned reeds were all placed on opposite sides of the top and bottom plates, an easily effectuated reversal of parts.

The transition from the preferred embodiment to the alternative embodiment, regardless of whether the harmonica is played in an all-draw or all-blow fashion, is achieved by rear ranging some of the reeds and interchanging the location of the slides with one another. The function of these two slides is similarly interchanged. The resultant accidental slide (the auxiliary slide in the preferred embodiment) is identified by the reference numeral 20' in FIG. 12 and the resultant auxiliary slide (the accidental slide in the preferred embodiment) is identified by the reference numeral 24. As noted previously, the preferred embodiment and the alternative embodiment can be played in the same mode, be it all-draw or all-blow.

FIG. 13 is a legend for correlating the movement of slides 20' and 24' of FIG. 12in the same manner as FIG. 10 clarifies the movement of slides 20 and 24 for the preferred embodiment seen in FIGS. 6-9. FIGS. 14-17 illustrate that by proper manipulation of independent slides 20' and 24', three of the four wind cells operatively associated with each opening in the mouthpiece of the harmonica are isolated and a single tuned reed is actuated. The slide, or slides, being actuated is indicated by appropriate directional arrows. FIG. 18 shows one note arrangement that can be achieved by the manipulation of slides 20' and 24'.

FIGS. 19-23, which correspond to FIGS. 14-18, show the manner in which another note arrangement can be achieved by the manipulation of slides 20' and 24.

Since still additional alternative embodiments employing the same basic unidirectional flow principles may be made without departing from the scope of the instant invention, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in v the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative in nature and not in a limiting sense.

I claim: 1. A harmonica comprising: a. a casing, b. a comb having a plurality of individual cells formed therein, c. a plurality of tuned, vibratable reeds disposed within said casing, each reed being situated in operative relationship to one of said cells in said comb,

. a mouthpiece having a series of openings formed therein,

each opening being in alignment with a plurality of cells for communication therebetween,

first manually operable valve means disposed between said mouthpiece and said comb, said first valve means including a first perforated valve slide having a first pattern of lands and apertures therein to prevent communication between a first set of said plurality of cells and the aligned openings in said mouthpiece, said first valve means further including a pair of perforated guides, said guides being disposed on opposite sides of said perforated slide to form a sheath therefor, the pattern of said first perforated valve slide comprising a pair of vertically spaced aligned apertures and a land extending vertically for the entire height of said slide, each individual aperture of said pair of aligned apertures in said first slide being substantially equal in width and height to the dimensions of said perforations in one perforated guide of the pair of guides and substantially half the width of the perforations in the other perforated guide,

said first valve means being mounted within its sheath for independent movement relative to said mouthpiece,

. second manually operable valve means disposed between said first valve means and said comb, said second valve means including a second perforated valve slide having a second, distinctively different pattern of lands and apertures formed therein to prevent communication between a second set of said plurality of cells and the aligned openings in said mouthpiece,

. said second valve means further including a pair of perforated guides, said guides being disposed on opposite sides of said perforated slide to form a sheath therefor,

. said second valve means being mounted within its sheath for independent movement relative to said mouthpiece and to said first valve means so that the first and second pattern of lands and apertures on said valve slides cooperate with each other whereby the harmonica can be played in a unidirectional mode.

2. The harmonica as defined in claim 1 wherein said comb is divided by a horizontal partition and a plurality of vertical walls into an upper and a lower series of wind cells, each opening in said mouthpiece being aligned with four wind cells.

3. The harmonica as defined in claim 1 wherein the pattern of said second perforated valve slide comprises an upper series of apertures and a lower series of apertures, said upper series being laterally offset from said lower series of apertures, and each of said apertures being substantially the same height and width as the perforations in said first and second perforated guides.

4. The harmonica as defined in claim 1 wherein said first and second valve means are normally biased into a home position by cantilever spring means, said spring means being disposed within opposite ends of said comb so that the free end of each of said spring means protrude beyond said comb.

5. The harmonica as defined in claim 1 wherein each pair of perforated guides is joined by interlocking means.

6. A harmonica comprising:

a. a casing,

b. a comb having a plurality of individual cells formed therein c. a plurality of tuned, vibratable reeds disposed within said casing, each reed being situated in operative relationship to one of said cells in said comb,

d. a mouthpiece having a series of openings fon-ned therein, each opening being in alignment with a plurality of cells for communication therebetween,

e. first manually operable valve means disposed between said mouthpiece and said comb, said first valve means including a first perforated valve slide having a first pattern of lands and apertures therein to prevent communication between a first set of said plurality of cells and the aligned openings in said mouthpiece,

-f. said first valve means further including a pair of perforated guides, said guides being disposed on opposite sides of said perforated slide to form a sheath therefor,

g. the pattern of said first perforated valve slide comprising an upper series of apertures and a lower series of apertures, said upper series being laterally offset from said of series f apertures, each of said apertures being substantially equal in height to the perforations in said pair of perforated guides and substantially half the width of the perforations in one of said pair of perforated guides,

h. said first valve means being mounted within its sheath for independent movement relative to said mouthpiece,

i. second manually operable valve means disposed between said first valve means and said comb, said second valve means including a second perforated valve slide having a second, distinctively different pattern of lands and apertures formed therein to prevent communication between a second set of said plurality of cells and the aligned openings in said mouthpiece,

j. said second valve means further including a pair of perforated guides, said guides being disposed on opposite sides of said perforated slide to form a sheath therefor,

k. said second valve means being mounted within its sheath for independent movement relative to said mouthpiece and to said first valve means so that the first and second pattern of lands and apertures on said valve slides cooperate with each other whereby the harmonica can be played in a unidirectional mode.

7. The hannonica as defined in claim 6 wherein the pattern of said second perforated valve slide comprises a pair of vertically spaced aligned apertures and a land extending vertically for the height of said valve slide.

8. The harmonica as defined in claim 6 wherein said comb is divided by a horizontal partition and a plurality of vertical walls into an upper and lower series of wind cells, each opening in said mouthpiece being aligned with four wind cells.

9. The harmonica as defined in claim 6 wherein said first and second perforated slides are normally biased into a home position by cantilever spring means, said spring means being disposed within opposite ends of said comb so that the free end of each of said spring means protrudes beyond said comb.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4221075 *5 Sep 19789 Sep 1980Gallagher H DanMultiple pitch animal call
US4523704 *22 Dec 198318 Jun 1985Leonard WashingtonCar top rod and reel carrier apparatus
US5367937 *21 Jan 199329 Nov 1994Epping; William R.Harmonica
US5413021 *20 May 19949 May 1995Margetson; Desmond W.Tactile chromatic harmonica
US5739446 *21 May 199214 Apr 1998Bahnson; Henry T.Harmonica and method of playing same
US7122729 *16 Mar 200517 Oct 2006Hsiu-Hsiung LinHarmonica
US7191781 *9 Dec 200420 Mar 2007Innomed Technologies, Inc.Nasal ventilation interface and system
US8217247 *21 Mar 201010 Jul 2012Douglas Peter HorsleyAdjustable chromatic chord harmonica
WO1993023846A1 *21 May 199325 Nov 1993Henry T BahnsonImproved harmonica and method of playing same
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/377, 984/137
International ClassificationG10D7/00, G10D7/12
Cooperative ClassificationG10D7/123
European ClassificationG10D7/12B