Polyphonic breath controlled electronic musical instrument

Polyphonic breath controlled electronic musical instrument
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllIllllllllllllllllllllll
USO05245130A
United States Patent [191
Wheaton
[54] POLYPHONIC BREATH CONTROLLED
ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
Inventor: James A. Wheaton, Fairfax, Calif.
[75]
[73] Assignee: Yamaha Corporation, Hamamatsu,
Japan
[21] Appl. No.: 656,781
Feb. 15, 1991
[22] Filed:
[5 1] Int. Cl.5 ....................... .. GIOH 3/12; GlOH l/18
[52] US. Cl. ...................................... .. 84/742; 84/377;
84/DIG. 14; 84/658
[53]
Field of Search ............... .. 84/DIG. 14, 377, 378,
[56]
84/379, 723, 735, 742, 743, 724, 734, 626, 644,
645, 658, 687
References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,252,045
4,385,541
2/1981
5/1983
Nagura ................................ .. 84/687
Miiller et al. ............... .. B4/DIG. 14
4,566,363 l/l986 Arai.
4,837,836
6/ 1989
Barcus ................................. .. 84/723
4,984,499
l/199l
Sch?le ........... ..
4,993,308
2/1991
Villeneuve .......................... .. 84/724
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
62-201794 12/1987 Japan .
63-220292 9/1988 Japan .
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
"A Miniature Anemometer for Ultrafast Response”
Sensors, Dec. 1989, pp. 22-26.
Primary Examiner-e-william M. Shoop, Jr.
26
[11] Patent Number:
[45] Date of Patent:
5,245,130
Sep. 14, 1993
Assistant Examiner-Jeffrey W. Donels
Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Graham & James
[57]
ABSTRACT
A polyphonic breath controlled electronic musical in~
strument includes a hand held breath sensor unit having
a plurality of bidirectional air flow sensing passageways
for detecting sucking or blowing action of the per
former in a manner similar to a conventional acoustic
harmonica. The breath sensor unit further includes pres
sure sensing transducers on the surface thereof, adapted
to sense lip pressure and ?nger pressure of the per
former, as well as a plurality of switches activated by
the ?ngers of the performer holding the breath sensor
unit. A microphone con?gured in the breath sensor unit
picks up the vocal sounds of the performer. A thumb
wheel controller is provided on the sensor unit to allow
a control of tone parameters, such as volume, by the
thumb of the performer. The signals from the sensors
and switches on the sensor unit are provided to a remote
electronic control unit which converts the analog sen
sor signals and on/off switch signals to MIDI control
data in response to programs set by the performer. The
performer may set various combinations of tone effects
which may be varied in the performance by the per
former activating the switches and pressure sensors. A
tone generator receives the MIDI control signals and
provides musical tones in response thereto. A conven
tional acoustic harmonica may be accurately emulated
in addition to providing a number of other digital musi
cal effects.
34 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
béédc/
f
on;
E_l___
vol
ml
u
nau
~42
~ts
~11
OUT
in
US. Patent
Sep.14,1993
Sheet 1 of 5
28\ 30\ I32 /3l./35
~
26
5,245,130
[22
[10
1/
18
I
may] BET
as F'\\‘5/
' izz. \1s
,
_
l
1
521W
l
1
|
2°
f
1
i
‘
I
l
/
I
'
l
ED" uum swag LOAD
GEN
T0 AUDIOION
SUB
EM
,
_ -
_+e _ *_.
mm
OUT
mm
IN
mm
THRU
A
FIG. 1
US. Patent
Sep. 14, 1993
Sheet 2 of 5
3/.A [3B
5,245,130
[22
18
52
In“...
,,se
'so
' so
/56
,55
60
-
68
FIG. 2
US. Patent
(BLOWlNGI
Sheet 3 of 5
5,245,130
IIHHIIIHIIIIII
, uummum
AIR FLOW
Sep. 14, v1992,
‘
AIR FLOW
iSUCKiNGl
US. Patent
Sep.14,1993
-
Sheet 5 of 5
1.2
,u.
'
5,245,130
/1.6 /I.7
MIDI
MIDI‘
IN
MIDI
out
I
Q
N94
v
\\98
M00
~
/*
\\95
r
./-102
106/
\101.
FIG. 5
1
5,245,130
2
former as compared to a conventional harmonica. Due
POLYPHONIC BREATH CONTROLLED
ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
to the importance of slight variations of breath into the
holes, this difference in the breath hole layout renders
the breath control different from a natural harmonica.
5 Also, the breath controllers disclosed in the aforemen
relates to breath controlled electronic musical instru
tioned patents do not provide a system capable of ren
dering a live harmonica performance sound. For exam
ple, a typical live performance of a harmonica will
employ a standard hand held acoustic harmonica and a
ments.
microphone held by the performer adjacent the outlet
2. Description of the Prior Art and Related Informa
tion
holes of the harmonica to pick up and amplify the
sound. Thus, the sound which is ampli?ed includes not
Electronic musical instruments have been developed
which provide excellent simulation of a wide variety of
by the blowing action, as well as any related sound
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to electronic musical
instruments. More particularly, the present invention
only the harmonica sounds but related sounds generated
natural musical instruments. The most common ap 15 effects generated by the performer. In the aforemen
proach to controlling generation of such electronically
tioned breath controlled electronic musical instruments,
the tone of the harmonica is ampli?ed from signals in
the air?ow apertures which are responsive only to the
air flow pressure and produce only a corresponding
harmonica tone. Thus, the related sound effects pro
vided by the performer in a live performance are omit
generated musical tones is by way of a conventional
keyboard. In addition to the typical musical voices
controlled‘by keyboard, such as a piano, organ, harpsi
chord, etc., keyboard controlled electronic musical
instruments can also generate a wide variety of other
musical voices including stringed instruments, percus
ted from the electronic musical instrument, and thus an
unrealistic effect is the ultimate result.
sion instruments, etc. The advantages of keyboard con
trol include familiarity of the keyboard layout, ?exibil
ity to provide different types of chords, split keyboard
Additionally, the above-noted prior art harmonica
like breath controllers fail to exploit the potential ?exi
bility of an electronic musical instrument which enables
effects and other forms of tone control, as well as indi
vidual note generation. Other types of control systems
have also been used, including drum pads for generating
electronic drum ‘sounds and other percussion sounds,
the performer to control the instrument in a natural
way. In particular, the ’363 patent attempts to provide
and some breath controllers which simulate wind in 30 additional ?exibility in tone generation by including a
keyboard on the top of the harmonica-like breath con
struments. Such keyboards, drum pads and breath con
troller
unit. However, such a keyboard cannot be acti
trollers have generally been relatively restricted in the
vated while the performer holds the harmonica-like
number of tone patterns that can be generated, and are
controller unit in a natural manner adjacent his month.
typically limited to the speci?c instrument they are
designed to emulate.
35 As a result, the keyboard is operated separately and
independently from a harmonica-like mouth activated
One natural musical instrument which has not re
ceived as signi?cant a degree of emulation in the elec
tronic musical instrument field as other natural musical
instruments, is the harmonica. The harmonica has a
number of advantages as an electronic musical control 40
device, especially for novice musicians. In particular,
the harmonica is a relatively simple instrument for most
performers ‘to learn to- play and provides the ability to
mode in response to a mode setting switch. Therefore,
for a given performance, little ?exibility is added over a
conventional acoustic harmonica despite the potential
capability of an electronic musical instrument tone gen
eration system.
For the foregoing reasons, a need presently exists for
a breath controlled electronic musical instrument which
is capable of providing a natural sounding harmonica
sound individual notes as well as chords. Nonetheless,
the use of a suitable breath controller con?gured simi 45 performance, as well as providing ?exibility for addi
tional electronic musical instrument based sounds and
larly to a harmonica has not been developed which can
tones, which may be readily controlled by a performer
achieve the desired ?exibility and compatibility with
during a performance.
electronic musical instrument tone generation systems.
Examples of ‘prior approaches to developing an elec
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
tronic musical instrument employing a harmonica-like 50
The present invention provides a breath controlled
' breath controller are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No.
electronic musical instrument adapted to recreate the
4,619,175 to Matsuzaki, issued Oct. 28, 1986, and US.
performance characteristics of an acoustic harmonica,
Pat. No. 4,566,363 to Arai, issued Jan. 28, 1986. Al
as well as provide flexibility for additional performance
though these patents are directed to providing an elec
tronic musical instrument control device modelled after 55 variations and tones not provided by a conventional
harmonica.
a harmonica, they suffer from a number of disadvan
tages and fail to fully exploit the potentials of a breath
The present invention provides an electronic musical
instrument having a hand held breath controller unit, an
controlled electronic musical instrument. Furthermore,
such patents do not provide a breath controlled elec
electronics unit coupled to the breath controller unit for
tronic musical instrument capable of fully simulating
the effect of a harmonica in a performance environ
ment.
More particularly, the aforementioned prior art elec
tronic musical instruments employing harmonica type
controllers require separate through holes, or apertures,
to detect the sucking and blowing action of the per
former of the instrument, respectively. This results in an
unfamiliar breath hole layout (or spacing) for the per
60
converting the breath controller output to standardized
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) control
signals, and an audio generation subsystem responsive
to the MIDI control signals.
The breath controller unit employs a plurality of air
?ow passageways con?gured similarly to a conven
tional harmonica. Each of the air ?ow passageways
includes bidirectional air ?ow sensors, preferably in the
form of thin solid state air ?ow transducers mounted on
3
5,245,130
directional air ?ow baffles. This enables inhaling and
exhaling to be separately detected in a single passage
way, while maintaining the layout and breath response
of a conventional harmonica. In addition, in a preferred
embodiment, the breath controller unit employs a mi
crophone, a plurality of control transducers, and a plu
rality of switches con?gured in a position adapted to be
4
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a schematic/perspective view of the breath
controlled electronic musical instrument of the present
invention.
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the breath controller
unit of the present invention.
activated by the performer’s ?ngers. The microphone
FIG. 3(a) is a broken away perspective view through
detects the sounds of the performer, for example, hum
ming or other background noises, which are typical
during a harmonica performance. The control transduc
an air flow passageway in the breath controller unit of
ers are adapted to detect lip pressure and ?nger pressure
applied by the performer while blowing into the breath
controller unit. A force sensing resistive ?lm may be
employed for both the lip pressure detection and the
?nger pressure detection transducers. Additionally, a
control transducer in the form of a control wheel, for
example, is provided on the breath controller unit con
veniently next to the performer’s thumb for variable
the present invention.
FIG. 3(b) is a cross-sectional view of an air ?ow
passageway in the breath controller unit of the present
invention.
FIG. 4 is a block schematic diagram illustrating the
control electronics in the electronics unit of the present
invention.
FIG. 5 is a block schematic diagram illustrating the
audio generation subsystem of the breath controlled
musical instrument of the present invention.
control such as volume control over the tone output.
The switches are used to activate/deactivate the micro
phone, or one or more of the tone control transducers,
as well as provide various pitch or tone modi?cation
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
INVENTION
Referring to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of the
breath controlled electronic musical instrument of the
functions during a performance.
25 present invention is illustrated in a perspective/
The electronics unit, coupled to the breath controller
schematic view. As shown in FIG. 1, the electronic
unit through wires or an RF link, receives the various
musical instrument of the present invention includes a
control signals output by the breath controller unit and
breath controller unit 10, an electronics unit 12 and an
provides tone pitch and volume output signals, prefera
bly in digital MIDI format, as well as various additional 30
MIDI digital effect control signals. Air ?ow signals
from the bidirectional sensors in each of the air flow
passageways are ?rst compared to discriminate the air
flow direction, compared to a threshold level, and then
audio generation subsystem 14.
Breath controller unit 10 is preferably adapted to be
held in a performer’s hand and is thus of a size similar to
a conventional harmonica, or other convenient size
which can be held by a performer. The breath control
ler unit 10 includes a plurality of air ?ow passageways
mapped onto a predetermined pitch. The performer, by 35 16 configured to receive air from the performer in re
blowing or sucking air through the air flow passage
sponse to sucking or blowing actions, in a manner simi
lar to a conventional harmonica performance. In FIG.
ways, can then select tone pitch in a manner similar to
1, ten air ?ow passageways 16 are illustrated. It will be
a conventional harmonica. This assignment of passage
appreciated, however, that a greater or lesser number of
ways to pitch is stored in a memory having a plurality of
such assignments stored therein. By activating a switch 40 air flow passageways may be provided, as determined
by the speci?c size of breath controller unit 10 and/or
on the electronics unit, or one of the switches on the
the amount of note information desired to be provided.
breath controller unit, this mapping assignment may be
The structure of air ?ow passageways 16, as well as the
changed either at the onset of a performance or during
nature of the air ?ow sensors disposed therein are dis
the performance. The pitch mapping may also be
smoothly varied by continuous control of one of the 45 cussed in more detail below in relation to FIGS. 2 and
3.
control transducers mounted on the breath control unit
As further shown in FIG. 1, breath controller unit 10
to create, for example, a pitch bend effect. The other
also
includes a microphone 18, mounted directly in the
control transducers control additional special effects,
breath controller unit 10. Although microphone 18 is
which speci?c effects to be controlled are set by the
electronics unit. For example, reverberation effects, 50 illustrated as being con?gured in one side of breath
controller unit 10, any other convenient location for
varying tone colors, chord effects, etc., may be con
microphone
18 may also be employed, so as to detect
trolled at the onset of, or during, aiperformance.
the sounds made by the performer during a perfor
The tone control signals resulting from the process
mance, such as humming, singing, etc. Although only
in g of the tone signals from the breath controller unit, in 55 one microphone 18 is illustrated, more than one micro
the form of MIDI signals, are provided to an audio
phone may be employed, and these may be located
generation subsystem employing conventional compo
about the side, top and/or front of the breath control
nents adapted to receive MIDI control signals and gen
unit 10, so as to ensure accurate pickup of the perform
erate. audible musical tones.
er’s sounds during a harmonica like performance.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the
Breath controller unit 10 further includes a lip pres
present invention provides a breath controlled elec
sure control transducer 20. The lip pressure control
tronic musical instrument having the capability of pro
transducer 20 is con?gured so as to sense the pressure
viding realistic harmonica performance effects, as well
applied to the breath controller unit 10 by the lip of the
as the ?exibility to provide additional tone colors, tone
performer while blowing/sucking into the unit in a
voices and various digital effects not available with a 65 natural manner. A matching lip pressure control trans
conventional acoustic harmonica. Furthermore, the
ducer. (not shown) is located on the bottom of the breath
breath controller unit may be operated in a convenient
controller unit 10. Lip pressure transducer 20 preferably
manner by the performer.
employs a force sensing resistive ?lm. Suitable force
5
5,245,130
sensing resistive ?lms are commercially available, for
example, from Interlink Electronics, Inc., Santa Bar
bara, Calif. The thick ?lm nature of such force sensing
_ resistors provides for convenient sensing of the pressure
applied by the lip of the performer. Other types of pres
sure sensing transducers may be employed in place of
force sensing resistor ?lm 20, however, ‘for example,
conductive rubber.
6
by an RF link, facilitating even greater freedom of
movement to the player using the breath controller unit
10.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the electronics control unit
12 will preferably include a front control panel 40. Con
trol panel 40 allows the performer to provide program
ming and/or other information to the electronics unit 12
to control the programming and operation of the
Breath controller unit 10 further includes a ?nger
pressure sensing control transducer 22. The ?nger pres
switches and sensors on breath controller unit 10 and to
sure transducer’ 22 is con?gured so as to receive the
control the processing of the output signals from con
performer's ?ngers of one hand when holding the
troller unit 10. In a preferred embodiment discussed
below in relation to FIG. 4, electronics unit 12 receives
breath controller unit in a natural manner. Finger pres
sure transducer 22 is preferably a force sensing resistor
the analog air flow sensor signals and other analog
control signals provided along data cable 38 and pro
thick film of the same type as employed for lip pressure
duces an output in the form of a digital Musical Instru
control transducer 20. The force supplied by the ?ngers
‘m detected‘ by the force sensing resistor ?lm and output
Also, as indicated in FIG. 1, a separate analog output
ment Digital Interface (MIDI) signal along line 42.
as a control signal. Although the ?nger pressure trans
may be provided along line 44, corresponding to the
ducer 22 is illustrated as a single extended force sensing
output of microphone 18. Additionally, the electronics
resistor ?lm in FIG. 1, it will be appreciated that it may 20 control unit 12 may receive MIDI feedback information
be separated into several discrete portions adapted to
receive the individual ?ngers of the performers hand.
from the audio generation subsystem 14 along line 46.
As further illustrated in FIG. 1, the electronics unit 12
Also, other pressure sensing transducers may be em
will preferably include a display panel 48 which dis
ployed to sense ?nger pressure from the performer’s
plays the functional status of the unit. The display panel
other hand,_in addition to the force sensing resistor ?lm 25 48 may be, for example, a LCD or other well known
generally illustrated in FIG. 1.
form of display, with the output thereof controlled by ‘
As further illustrated in FIG. 1, the breath controller
the electronics control unit 12.
unit 10 includes a thumb wheel controller 24 situated on
As shown in FIG. 1, the audio generation subsystem
the bottom of breath controller unit 10. Thumb wheel
14 receives the MIDI signal from control unit 12 on line
42 and the analog microphone signal on line 44 and
generates musical tones under the control of these sig
nals. As will be described in more detail below in rela
tion to FIG. 5, the audio generation subsystem 14 may
be comprised of commonly available modular tone
controller 24 is situated so as to be conveniently located
near the thumb of the performer when the performer
holds the breath controller in a manner similar to a
harmonica. The thumb wheel controller 24 enables a
varying output signal to be produced by rotation of the
thumb wheel. It will be appreciated however, that other 35 generation components and audio ampli?cation compo
types of transducers adapted to be adjusted by the
nents due to the standardized nature of the MIDI con
thumb of‘a performer may also be employed.
trol signal provided along line 42 and the analog signal
As further shown in FIG. 1, breath controller unit 10
on line 44. Also, audio generation subsystem 14 may
preferably includes switches 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 and 36
include one or more digital effects units which may be
con?gured on the upper surface of breath controller 40 controlled by the MIDI control signal along line 42; for
unit 10. Switches 26-34 may preferably be single pole
example, to add reverberation to the ?nal audio signal.
momentary switches which can be readily activated by
Referring to FIG. 2, a preferred embodiment of the
the left hand of the performer holding the breath con
breath controller unit 10 is illustrated in an exploded
troller unit 10. Although the position of the switches
view. For convenience of illustration, only a portion of
illustrated is presently preferred, it will of course be 45 the total breath control unit 10 is illustrated, showing six
appreciated that various other types of on/off switches
breath air ?ow holes 16, as opposed to preferred em
may also be employed and may be situated at other
locations on the breath controller unit 10. Also, the
con?guration of the switches may be altered for left
handed performers, or for other speci?c needs of the 50
performer.
The various control transducers, switches, micro
bodiment of ten as illustrated in FIG. 1. As shown in
FIG. 2, in a preferred embodiment, breath controller
unit 10 has a “sandwich” structure. The sandwich struc
ture of the breath controller unit 10 includes a top sec
tion 52 having force sensing resistive ?lms 20 and 22, as
well as switches 26-36 on the top surface and micro
phone and air flow sensor units on the breath controller
phone 18 mounted on the side thereof. The pick up
unit 10 provide a variety of output signals which are all
leads for the force sensitiveresistive ?lms 20, 22, as well
routed through to electronics control unit 12 via output 55 as the electrical connections to the switches and air ?ow
cable 38. The manner in which the variety of control
sensors, are preferably integrally formed into a thin
signals may be used to control musical tone generation
printed circuit board formed on the bottom of the top
in a varied manner, will be discussed below.
section 52.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the electronics control unit
The sandwich structure of the breath controller unit
12 may preferably be separate from the breath control 60 10 further includes a top air ?ow sensor plate 54 having
ler unit 10 to allow the breath controller unit 10 to be a
a number of directional air flow sensors 56, 66, respec
compact hand held unit. The electronics control unit 12
tively, mounted thereon. In a preferred embodiment,
is electrically coupled to the breath controller unit 10
two air flow sensors 56, 66 are provided for each pas
through data cable 38 and may be mounted in a separate
sageway 16. The air flow sensors 56 are mounted on the
control unit or may be adapted to be attached to the 65 bottom portion of the top air flow plate 54 so as to sense
performer’s belt. In the latter case, the number of func
air flow through the passage therebelow through pas
tions available to the control unit 12 may be somewhat
reduced, however. Also, data cable 38 may be replaced
sageways 16. Air ?ow sensors 56, 66 are preferably
solid state air flow transducers which may, for example,
7
5,245,130
be of the type described by Henderson, et al., in Sensor,
Dec. 22, 1989, the disclosure of which is herein incorpo
rated by reference. As illustrated schematically in FIG.
2, and in more detail in FIGS. 3(a) and 3(b), these solid
state air flow transducers are thin semiconductor de
vices which may be readily incorporated in a compact
breath controller unit. As indicated by the arrow on
each of the air flow sensors 56, 66 and as described in
more detail in relation to FIGS. 3(a) and 3(b), the sen
sors 56, 66 are preferably directionally sensitive and
detect only air ?ow in the direction of the arrow which,
in this instance, corresponds to a blowing action of the
8
be combined into a single plate to result in a three part
sandwich structure instead of a ?ve part structure as
illustrated. Furthermore, the manner in which various
plates are mounted together may be chosen to provide
ease of disassembly for cleaning the unit or replacing
sensor units, or may be integrally bonded through adhe
sive or other bonding techniques to form a solid struc
ture. Other variations in the manner of construction of
the breath controller unit 10 may also be made, as will
be appreciated by those of skill in the art.
Referring to FIGS. 3(a) and 3(1)), a preferred embodi
ment of the directional air flow sensors 56, 66 is illus
trated FIG. 3(a) is a broken away perspective view
performer. In a preferred embodiment, this directional
sensitivity is achieved by mounting the sensors 56, 66 on
through an air flow passageway 16 in breath controller
directional air ?ow baf?es, illustrated in FIGS. 3(a) and 5 unit 10 and FIG. 3(b) is a cross-sectional view thereof.
To enable bidirectional air flow detection, ?rst and
3(b). Air flow sensor output signals are preferably pro
second solid state air flow sensors 57, 59, respectively,
vided along conductive traces (not shown) which may
be formed on top air ?ow sensor plate 54, using well
are provided in each air ?ow passageway 16. First solid
known printed circuit techniques.
state air flow sensor 57 is mounted on a ?rst wedge
Still referring to FIG. 2, a middle air ?ow sensor 20 shaped baffle 61 to orient the air ?ow sensor 57 so as to
section 58 of the breath controller unit 10 has a parti
expose the surface thereof directly to air ?ow during a
tioned “comb-like” structure de?ning air ?ow passage
ways 16 by a series of vertical partitions 60. At the end
of each passageway 16 is an air ?ow hole 62 having a
diameter chosen to provide a desired air ?ow velocity
through passageway 16 for a given blowing or sucking
pressure. The air ?ow holes 62 extend through to the
back of middle section 58 to allow the air and any saliva
to leave the breath controller unit 10. Con?gured to
secure to the bottom of the middle air ?ow sensor sec
tion 58 of the breath controller unit sandwich structure
is a bottom air flow sensor plate 64. It will thus be ap
preciated that the top air ?ow sensor plate 54, middle
air ?ow sensor plate 58 and bottom air ?ow sensor plate
64 together de?ne air ?ow passageways 16 which can
detect air flow bidirectionally and provide output sig
blowing action (i.e., air flow from left to right through
passageway 16 as in FIG. 3(b)). The second solid state
air flow sensor 59 in turn is mounted on a second wedge
shaped baf?e 63, to orient air?ow sensor 59 toward the
direction of air flow during a sucking action (i.e., air
flow from right to left as in FIG. 3(a)). In a preferred
embodiment, air ?ow sensors 57, 59 are of a design such
as described in detail in the Henderson, et al. article,
having a Wheatstone bridge arrangement which senses
changes in the resistance on the legs of the Wheatstone
bridge due to differential air flow. Thus sensors 57, 59
can detect the magnitude of the air ?ow with the direc
tion of air flow being determined by comparing the
sensor outputs and determining the sensor which de
tects the greatest amount of air ?ow. Since solid state
sensors 57, 59 are manufactured using integrated circuit
technology they may be very small and do not place
any signi?cant restriction on the size of air flow pas
nals indicating a sucking or blowing action for each of
the air ?ow passageways 16.
As shown in FIG. 2, the breath controller unit 10
further includes a lower section 68 having a lower lip 40 sageways 16. Optional baf?es 65, 67 may be provided
sensing transducer 70 on the bottom thereof, as well as
which reduce turbulence introduced in the air flow past
thumb controller wheel 24. As in the case of upper lip
?rst and second baffles 61, 63 due to the venturi effect
sensing transducer 20, lower lip sensing transducer 70
resulting from the restricted air-?ow region below baf
may preferably be formed of a force sensing resistor
?es 61, 63. These baffles 65, 67 will thus reduce the
?lm. An output signal proportional to the lip pressure 45 likelihood of directional magnitude errors during vigor
applied thereto may be provided through printed cir
ous blowing or sucking actions. Also, as will be appreci
cuit type conductive leads (not shown) formed directly
ated from FIGS. 3(a) and 3(1)), the air ?ow sensors 57,
on lower section 68. Thumb wheel controller 24 prefer
ably has a spring return mechanism, so that the output
thereof will be at a normal level setting unless adjusted
by the thumb of the performer. The analog output of
thumb wheel controller 24 may similarly be provided
along conductive traces (not shown) formed directly on
bottom section 68. The various conductive leads pro
vided from the sensors and switches in each of top
59 are mounted on top of air flow passageways 16 so
that the in?uence of any saliva on the function of the
sensors may be minimized.
Referring to FIG. 4, the electronics circuitry em
ployed in electronics control unit 12 is illustrated in
block schematic form. As shown in FIG. 4, the analog
outputs from the airflow sensors 56, 66 thumb wheel
controller 24, upper and lower lip pressure sensors 20,
section 52, top sensor plate 54, and bottom section 68,
70, and ?nger pressure sensor 22 are provided to an
are all provided to one end of the breath controller unit
analog-to'digital converter 72. Analog-to-digital con
10 where they couple to data cable 38, for example,
through an adapter plug. Alternatively, the leads may
verter 72 provides digital output signals corresponding
to the analog inputs from the aforementioned sensors
be provided to a miniature RF transmitter which broad 60 and control transducer. Digital output signals corre
casts the sensor output signals to a receiver in the elec
sponding to the air ?ow sensor signals are provided to
tronic control unit 12 to allow greater freedom of ?exi
a direction/threshold detection circuit 74 which com
bility for movement of the performer.
pares air ?ow magnitudes from pairs of sensors 56, 66 to
It will be appreciated that the speci?c sandwich
determine air flow direction and also detects whether
structure and air flow sensor layout illustrated in FIG. 65 the air ?ow through the passageway 16 reaches a
2 may be varied while maintaining the advantageous
threshold level suf?cient to provide a Note On signal.
features of the breath controller unit 10. For example,
As illustrated, the direction/threshold detection circuit
the upper sections 52, 54 and bottom sections 64, 68 may
74 also receives a control signal on line 75 from the
9
5,245,130
control microprocessor 76. As will be discussed in more
10
user interface signals from the control panel 40 allow
the control microprocessor 76 to provide a wide variety
of output tones and effects in response to the signals
provided from the various sensors and switches on the
breath controller unit 10, all under the control of the
user. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the inputs
detail below, control microprocessor 76 allows the level
of the threshold to be adjusted by the user of the elec
tronic musical instrument. Direction/threshold detec
tion circuit 74 provides output signals, corresponding to
the digital magnitude of those air ?ow sensor signals
which exceed the threshold determined by control mi
croprocessor 76, to sensor-to-pitch mapping circuit 78.
from the control panel 40 may include control inputs for
PLAY, EDIT, UTILITY, STORE, LOAD, PARAM
As will be described in more detail below, sensor-to
ETER PLUS, PARAMETER MINUS, PARAME
pitch mapping circuit 78 assigns a tone pitch to each air
TER LEFT and PARAMETER RIGHT.
flow sensor; i.e., a tone pitch for each blowing or suck
ing action for each air ?ow passageway 16 in breath
controller 10.
As further indicated in FIG. 4, sensor-to-pitch map
As further illustrated schematically in FIG. 4, control
microprocessor 76 will have a permanent read only
memory (ROM) storage 88 as well as a rewritable ran
dom access memory (RAM) 90. The permanent storage
ping circuit 78 receives input signals on line 79 from 15 memory 88 will include control programs for the micro
control microprocessor 76 to control reassignment of
processor 76, as well as prestored ?xed assignments
the air flow sensor-to-pitch mapping based upon in
between the thumb wheel controller 24, ?nger sensor 22
structions from the user of the electronic musical instru
and lip pressure sensors 20, 70 as well as switches 26-36.
ment.
Additionally, ROM 88 may include predetermined sen
The input signals. from thumb wheel controller 24,
20
?nger pressure sensor 22, and lip pressure sensors 20, 70,
provided to analog-to-digital converter 72, are also
provided to the control microprocessor 76 after analog
to digital conversion. The input signals from the ?nger
sor-to-pitch mapping assignments which are provided
to sensor-to-pitch mapping circuit 78; alternatively,
sensor-to-pitch mapping circuit 78 may include a sepa
rate ROM which incorporates such prestored assign
ments. RAM 90 will include the working memory of
pressure sensor 22 and lip sensors 20, 70 are ?rst pro 25 the control microprocessor 76, as well as storage for the
vided to threshold detection circuits 80 and 82 so that a
speci?c sensor assignments setv by the user through
tone control signal from the ?nger pressure sensor 22 or
control panel 40.
lip pressure sensors 20, 70 are not provided until the
The output of microprocessor 76 provided on line 42
threshold value is reached by the output signal. This
is a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) digital
allows the performer to hold the unit without activating 30 control signal including the standardized MIDI mes
the sensors until it is much more aggressively squeezed
sages such as set out in the standardized MIDI 1.0 speci
or bit by the performer. These threshold detection cir
cuits 80, 82 also receive an input from the control mi
by reference. Additionally, the control microprocessor
?cation, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein
croprocessor 76 which can be used to adjust the respec
76 may respond to MIDI input messages provided from
tive thresholds.
35 audio generation subsystem 14 along line 46. Further
As further illustrated in FIG. 4, the input signals from
more, MIDI “through” messages may be provided
switches 26-36 on the breath controller unit 10 are also
along line 47 if the control unit 12 is passively linked to
provided to the microprocessor 76. In a preferred em
other MIDI control systems.
bodiment, several of the switches may be given preas
As discussed above, and as shown in FIG. 1, the
signed ?xed functions, while the remaining switches are 40 control unit 12 includes a user interface panel 40 for
left unde?ned for the user to set their function. As illus
interacting with control microprocessor 76. Interface
trated in FIG. 4, one such assignment is for four of the
panel 40 may preferably employ a set of momentary
switches to be allocated to predetermined functions,
push buttons, which may be used to set the ?ve modes
while two of the switches are left unde?ned. For exam
shown as inputs to control microprocessor 76: PLAY,
pl'e, as illustrated, patch increment, patch decrement, 45 EDIT, UTILITY, STORE, and LOAD. Each mode
octave increment and octave decrement, which func
tions will be described in more detail below, are prede
?ned for four of the switches 26-36. As illustrated, the
button preferably has an LED above it to indicate
which of the ?ve modes is presently selected. Within
each mode, the user can select different parameters by
outputs of the four de?ned function switches are pro~
using the PARAMETER LEFT (<-) and PARAME
vided directly to control microprocessor 76. The out 50 TER RIGHT (->) buttons to cycle through all possible
puts of the unde?ned switches are provided to a switch
to-function mapping circuit 84 which in turn receives a
parameters of each mode. Once a parameter has been
selected, the user can modify the value of the parameter
control signal on line 85 from the control microproces
by using the PARAMETER PLUS and PARAME
TER MINUS keys. Feedback is provided by way of the
LCD panel 48 which displays alphanumeric informa
sor 76 to set the function of these switches as deter
mined by the user of the electronic musical instrument. 55
As shown in FIG. 4, the analog signal provided from
tion about the current parameter and value.
microphone 18 on breath controller unit 10 may be
simply provided to an on/off switch 86. On/off switch
86 is controlled by a control signal on line 87 from
microprocessor 76. When switch 86 is ON, the micro
The following is a description of the functions of the
?ve modes: PLAY, EDIT, UTILITY, STORE and
sor 76‘also receives a number of control signals pro
vided from the user interface panel 40 on the electronics
unit 12. As will be described in more detail below, these
tronics unit 12 is in when it is powered on. There are no
parameters to select in the PLAY MODE, and the
LOAD in one preferred embodiment.
'
PLAY MODE
phone output signal is provided as an output 44 which is
designed to be connected to an audio preampli?er for
PLAY MODE is selected in order to use the breath
mixing with the tone generator signal, in audio genera
controller unit 10 to control audio generation subsystem
tion subsystem 14.
14 to generate a musical performance. The PLAY
As further illustrated in FIG. 4, control microproces 65 MODE will preferably be the default mode which elec
PARAMETER LEFT, PARAMETER RIGHT, PA
11
5,245,130
RAMETER PLUS and PARAMETER MINUS keys
are not active during PLAY MODE. During PLAY
MODE, the sensor signals from electronics breath con
12
breath controller unit 10. The parameters available in
the UTILITY MODE include, but are not limited to:
troller unit 10 are received by electronics unit 12 which
outputs MIDI messages according to the current set
tings of the EDIT PARAMETERS, to be described
below.
MIDI Receive Channel
Parameter Range:
1-16
MIDI Transmit Channel
Parameter Range: l-l6
MIDI Bulk Store
MIDI Bulk Load
EDIT MODE
When EDIT MODE is selected, the user can cycle
through a large number of parameters by using the
STORE MODE
PARAMETER LEFT (<-) and PARAMETER
RIGHT (—>) keys. The list of EDIT PARAMETERS
includes, but is not limited to the following:
STORE MODE is used to save the current state of all
parameters relating to the breath controlled electronic
IS musical instrument into an internal RAM memory 90.
The parameters stored in RAM 90 may be recalled
Sensor-to-Pitch Mapping (which note is assigned to each
air flow sensor)
Parameters:
using the LOAD MODE (discussed below). In this
way, the user can save settings for different songs, etc.,
and be able to instantly recall them. Since there are a
Recall Prestored Pitch Map Table,
Recall User De?ned Pitch Map
Table, De?ne Pitch Map Table,
Store Pitch Map
20
large number of parameters to change, RAM 90 prefer
ably includes a large number of internal memory param
eter locations; e.g., 100-200.
Inhale Threshold Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-l00 (soft to hard)
Inhale Threshold Maximum
Parameter Range: 0-l00 (soft to hard)
LOAD MODE
LOAD MODE is used to recall a previously saved
Inhale Note Velocity Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Inhale Note Velocity Maximum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Exhale Threshold Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-100 (soft to hard)
25
Exhale Threshold Maximum
30 turned On.
Parameter Range: 0-100 (soft to hard)
Exhale Note Velocity Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Exhale Note Velocity Maximum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Lip Sensor Threshold
Parameter Range: off, 0-100 (soft to hard)
Finger Sensor Threshold
Parameter Range: off, 0-100 (soft to hard)
Lip Sensor (MIDI Message)
Parameter:
user may select one of: Controller
0 . . . 63, Pitch Bend, Key Pressure,
Aftertouch
Lip Sensor Output Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-l27
Lip Sensor Output Maximum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Finger Sensor MIDI Message
Parameter:
user may select one of: Controller
0 . . . 63, Pitch Bend, Key Pressure,
Aftertouch
Finger Sensor Output Minimum
Parameter Range: 0-127
Finger Sensor Output Maximum
Parameter Range: 0-l27
Microphone State
Parameter:
On, Off
User-de?ned Switch l (MIDI Message)
Parameter:
user may select one of: Increment
Program Change, Decrement Program
Change, Controller 64 . . . 95, Mono
Mode, Poly Mode, Lip Sensor On/Off,
Finger Sensor Orr/Off, Microphone
On/Oil‘
User-defined Switch 2 (MIDI Message)
Parameter:
user may select one of: Increment
Program Change, Decrement Program
Change, Controller 64 . . . 95, Mono
Mode, Poly Mode, Lip Sensor On/Off,
Finger Sensor On/Off, Microphone
On/Off
set of parameter settings. For example, this would allow
the user to recall a setup for playing in the key of G,
with the lip sensor mapped to pitch bend and the finger
sensor mapped to modulation, with the microphone
Referring to FIG. 5, an example of audio generation
subsystem 14 is illustrated. Audio generation subsystem
14 preferably includes a MIDI synthesizer unit 92
which receives the digital MIDI input tone control
35 signals along line 42 from the electronics unit 12, and in
accordance with the MIDI control conventions pro
vides an analog output signal on line 94. Since the MIDI
digital control signals are standardized by the MIDI 1.0
speci?cation, MIDI synthesizer unit 92 may be conven
tional in nature and suitable units are commercially
available from a number of musical instrument manufac
turers. A typical MIDI synthesizer unit 92 will include
a control panel 96, a function display 98, and a volume
control 100. Various levels of complexity are possible in
45 such MIDI synthesizer units 92 and in addition to basic
tone generation in response to MIDI note and velocity
messages may provide a variety of digital effects such as
pitch bend, reverberation, etc, activated by the prede
termined MIDI digital control message, as well as a
50 number of other digital effects set out in the MIDI 1.0
detailed speci?cation.
Also as illustrated in FIG. 5, the MIDI synthesizer
unit 92 may provide output MIDI signals along line 46
to the electronics control unit 12 in response to the
55 MIDI output messages inputted by the user on the con
trol panel 96. For example, line 46 may output a status
message to electronics control unit 12 along with vari
ous other information on the mode on which the synthe
sizer unit 92 is set. Additionally, MIDI “through” mes
sages may be provided to and from the electronics con
trol unit along line 47. This line may be used to link
plural MIDI synthesizer units together, for example,
one synthesizer unit providing basic tone generation
signals and another used for more complex digital ef
65 fects. In principle, a large number of such MIDI synthe
UTILITY MODE
sizer units 92 could'be linked together via the MIDI
UTILITY MODE is selected to control various pa
through line 47, however, only one is illustrated in FIG.
rameters not directly related to the behavior of the
4 for convenience of illustration.
5,245,130
13
The analog audio out signal provided along line 94 is
14
—~or PARAMETER<~to obtain the A-minor scale. The
individual hole-to-note assignment in turn allows cus
tomized scales de?ned by the user which are not stan
adapted to be a conventional audio output signal such as
may be suitably ampli?ed and generated by conven
tional audio equipment. In FIG. 5, the analog audio
dardized.
output signal on line 94 is shown provided to an audio
'
The performer can also map any air ?ow sensor hole
to any note and save the mapping of the ten holes into
a “patc ” inside the electronics unit via the STORE
mode. This allows the performer to have access to dif
mixing preampli?er 102‘ which may be a conventionally
commercially‘ available unit. The mixing preampli?er
102 is also shown receiving the analog microphone
audio signal along line 44 which is provided in analog
ferent scales, including, but not limited to, major, minor,
augmented, etc. during a performance using controls on
form directly from the electronics control unit 12. The
audio signal from the mixing preampli?er 102 is in turn
electronics unit 12 or breath controller unit 10. The
provided to speaker 104 along line 106. Speaker 104
prede?ned momentary switches PATCH INCRE
may also be of a conventional commercially available
MENT and DECREMENT can be used to call a differ
ent note patch, such that as the performer is playing a
type and may include an ampli?cation stage incorpo
rated therein or in a separate unit (not shown).
15 certain song, the scales played by the ten holes will
It will, of course, be appreciated by those of skill in
change according to the patch selected. This offers a
great advantage over the harmonica, which is ?xed in
its assignment of holes to notes.
the art that a wide variety of tone generation layouts are
possible utilizing conventional units in various con?gu
rations adapted to provide the tone generation effects
capable of being provided by the breath controlled
Also, as will be readily appreciated, the performer
20 can blow or suck into more than one breath sensor hole
electronic musical instrument of the present invention.
It will be readily appreciated that the breath con
trolled electronic musical instrument of the present
at a time, thus creating a chord. The types of chords
created can be changed by using the PATCH INCRE
invention may be used in a number of ways. For exam
note patches.
ple, via the front panel 40 of electronics unit 12, the
MENT and DECREMENT switches to select new
25
EDIT MODE may be selected by the user. It is then
possible to map each of the air flow sensors of breath
controller unit 10 to any desired musical pitch. For
example, for a controller unit with ten air ?ow passage
ways, each air ?ow passageway has two possible
pitches, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. An
way. Since the magnitude of air ?ow from the air ?ow
sensors is used by the control microprocessor 76 to give
the note velocity, in a MIDI message format, it is also
possible for the user to specify a maximum air ?ow
example-of a table of hole-to-pitch mappings, called a
Pitch Map Table, is illustrated in Table 1.
TABLE 1
inhale/
Pitch (numbers refer to
the octave, e.g.,
Hole
exhale
C3 = middle C)
1
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
5
inhale
exhale
inhale
C2
D2
E2
F2
G2
B2
C3
D3
E3
F3
6 .
exhale
G3
7
inhale
exhale
A3
C4
2
3
4
'
8
9
inhale
B3
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
E4
D4
G4
F4
C5
The front panel of electronics control unit 12 also
allows the user to select how much air pressure is
needed to be considered a valid note. This threshold
value may be set at different levels for inhalation and
exhalation, but is set the same for each air flow passage
threshold. The minimum air ?ow threshold would cor
35 respond to a note velocity of l and the maximum air
flow threshold would correspond to a note velocity of
127. These numbers correspond to the minimum and
maximum velocity values as per the MIDI 1.0 spec. It is
also possible to limit the minimum and maximum note
velocity values such that the range of note velocity
values is somewhere within the range 0-127.
The lip sensors 20, 70 may be advantageously used to
control a MIDI pitch bend message. In this case, biting
hard on the lip sensors 20, 70 in breath controller unit 10
45 would cause a decrease or increase in pitch.
The ?nger sensors 22 may preferably be used to con
trol MIDI modulation messages. In this case, harder
?nger pressure would provide more of a low-frequency
oscillation, corresponding to a vibrato effect.
50
In a similar manner to the air flow sensors, the ?nger
pressure sensor and lip pressure sensors also have a
minimum and maximum threshold value set by the user
10
through electronics unit 12. The user also would have
_ inhale
A4
the ability to limit the output value of the sensor control
55 signals to any range within the 0-127 maximum range.
The mapping illustrated in Table 1 is a C major scale.
In this way,- the user can select how sensitive the instru
For a D major scale, two halfsteps are added to each of
ment is to his/her touch, and how much this touch will
the pitches listed in Table l. Pitch Map Tables can also
affect the MIDI message output.
be speci?ed by ‘giving the Scale Type. A number of
The thumb wheel controller 24 may preferably be
such hole-to-pitch mappings such as illustrated in Table 60 used to control the microphone volume, such that the
l‘ are preferably prestored in ROM 88 of control micro
performer could hum or sing or harmonize into the
processor 76 in electronics unit 12. For example, previ
ously de?ned major, minor, minor 7th and other com
monly used scales may be prestored. The user could, for
example, select A-minor as the Pitch Map Table with 65
breath controller unit 10 and mix the vocal signal with
the synthesizer signal. Thumb wheel controller 24 pref
out having to de?ne each individual hole-to-pitch as
signment by selecting EDIT ‘ Parameter Recall Pre
erably has a center detent with a spring return mecha
nism (not shown) so that it will return to the center
position when untouched. Its range may be set to any
where within the MIDI 0-127 range, with the center
stored Pitch Map Table and adjusting PARAMETER
position defaulted to 64. The center value will, how
15
5,245,130
16
ever, preferably be allocated as half of the de?ned
range, for example, a center value 10 for a range of l to
20.
As discussed above, four of the switches 26-36 are
tone control means, coupled to said flow sensors, for
preferably pre-de?ned to be: PATCH INCREMENT,
PATCH DECREMENT, OCTAVE INCREMENT,
including means for assigning speci?c air flow
providing a tone control signal derived from said
air ?ow signals, said tone control signal including
tone pitch information, said tone control means
sensors to speci?c tone pitches, means for storing a
plurality of different air flow sensor to tone pitch
assignments and means for selecting one of the
stored tone pitch/air flow sensor assignments; and
tone generator means, coupled to said tone control
and OCTAVE DECREMENT. The octave increment
and decrement switches are used to alter the current
Pitch Map Table by adding (or subtracting) l2 half
steps (I octave) to the pitch values listed for each air
flow passageway. The patch increment and decrement
means, for generating a musical tone in response to
rent patch number and automatically load the new
said tone control signal.
2. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
patch selected. A patch consists of the complete state of
as set out in claim 1, wherein said breath sensor unit
switches in turn will increment or decrement the cur
all of the user-editable variables, such as Pitch Map 5 further comprises a plurality of switches, and wherein
said tone control means further comprises means for
Table, Flow Threshold detect values, Microphone on/
off, Finger Pressure on/off, Lip Pressure on/off, Pro
assigning one or more the switches to specific tone
gram Change (to select a different patch on a remote
tone generator), or any of the MIDI switch controller
control signal assignment.
control signals and means for changing the switch/tone
messages (e.g., controller #64-95, etc.).
3. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
as set out in claim 1, wherein said tone control signal is
Although the above-noted allocation of the lip pres
a digital MIDI format signal.
4. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
sure sensors, ?nger pressure sensor and thumb wheel
output signals to MIDI control messages may be advan
tageously employed, other assignments may be made by 25 as set out in claim 1, wherein two air flow sensors are
the user. Just as the hole-to-pitch mapping allows each
provided in each passageway, the ?rst one of said air
ON message, each of the lip, ?nger and thumb wheel
flow sensors providing a ?rst air flow signal in response
to air flow through said passageway in a ?rst direction
sensors can be set to one of several types of MIDI mes
corresponding to a blowing action by said performer
air flow passageway to create a different MIDI NOTE
sages. Speci?cally, each of these sensors can be set to 30 and a second of said air ?ow sensors providing a second
create the following MIDI messages: MIDI continuous
air flow signal in response to air ?ow in a second direc
controller message 0-63, pitch bend, polyphonic key
tion, corresponding to a sucking action by said per
pressure, channel pressure (aftertouch). Any of the 63
former.
5. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
of these have pre-de?ned meanings, such as volume,
as set out in claim 1, further comprising threshold detec
modulation, pan, etc. as set out in the MIDI 1.0 speci?
tion means, electrically coupled to said air ?ow sensors,
cation.
for receiving said air ?ow signals from said sensors and
It will be appreciated from the foregoing that the
comparing the magnitude thereof to a threshold value
present invention provides a compact but extremely
and providing an output signal to said tone control
versatile breath controlled polyphonic electronic musi 40 means for said air flow signals exceeding said threshold
cal instrument capable of simulating an acoustic har
value.
monica while providing the capability for a wide vari
6. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
ety of tone generation effects not provided by an acous
as set out in claim 5, wherein said threshold detection
tic harmonica. Also, due to the familiarity of many
means includes means for changing said threshold value
people with the layout of a conventional acoustic har
in response to a signal from said tone control means.
monica, the breath controller and electronics control
7. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
unit of the present invention may be used to provide an
as set out in claim 1, further comprising a microphone,
continuous controller messages can be selected-some
easy control system for learning generation of musical
con?gured in said breath sensor unit, for detecting
sounds made by the performer and providing a micro
tones for generating a wide variety of musical voices
other than a harmonica.
50
phone output signal corresponding thereto.
It should be appreciated that the foregoing descrip
8. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
tion is of a preferred embodiment only and is not limit
ing as to the various ways the present invention may be
as set out in claim 1, wherein said breath sensor unit
further comprises means for sensing the pressure ap
con?gured and the various modes of operation which
plied by the lips of the performer and providing lip
are possible while remaining within the scope of the 55 pressure signals corresponding thereto to said tone con
present invention.
trol means.
What is claimed is:
1. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument,
9. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
as set out in claim 1, wherein said breath sensor unit
comprising:
further comprises means for sensing the pressure ap
a breath sensor unit, the unit having a plurality of 60 plied by the ?ngers of at least one hand of the performer
passageways con?gured to allow bidirectional air
while holding the breath sensor unit and providing a
flow therethrough in response to a sucking or
?nger pressure output signal to said tone control means.
blowing action by a performer;
10. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
a plurality of air ?ow sensors, at least one air flow
as set out in claim 1, wherein said tone control means is
sensor being con?gured in each passageway in the 65 coupled to said breath sensor unit by a data cable.
breath sensor unit, for providing an air flow signal
11. A breath controlled electronic musical instrument
relating to the magnitude and direction of air ?ow
past each sensor;
as set out in claim 1, wherein said tone control means is
coupled to said breath sensor unit through an RF link.
5,245,130
17
18
12. A breath controller unit for controlling an elec
tronic musical tone generator, comprising:
thereto by the performer and providing a pressure
a top section having an elongated generally planar
tone control means for receiving said air ?ow signals
shape;
output signal; and
and said pressure signal and providing a tone con
an upper air ?ow sensor section having an elongated
generally planar shape and having a top major
trol signal derived therefrom.
19. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 18,
wherein said pressure sensing means comprises a ?rst
surface and a bottom major surface, the bottom
major surface having a plurality of air ?ow sensors
force sensing transducer con?gured on the housing unit
mounted thereon;
for sensing the force applied by the lips of the performer
a middle air flow sensor section, having a generally
comb-like structure with a plurality of air flow
openings and a plurality of partitions de?ning the
comb-like structure; and
when blowing or sucking air through the breath con
troller unit and a second force sensing transducer for
sensing the force applied to the housing by the perform
er’s ?ngers while gripping the breath controller unit.
a bottom section having a general planar shape
20. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 19,
matching that of said top section and having an 5 wherein said ?rst and second force sensing transducers
upper major surface and a lower major surface;
are polymer thick ?lm force sensing resistors.
wherein the top section, upper air ?ow sensor sec
section are mounted together so as to form an inte
21. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 18,
wherein said air flow sensors are solid state transducers.
22. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 18,
gral unit having a plurality of air flow passages
de?ned by the comb-like structures and the upper
air ?ow sensor section, and wherein said plurality
further comprising a microphone con?gured in the
housing unit, for providing a microphone signal corre
sponding to sounds of the performer while playing the
of air flow sensors in said upper air ?ow sensor
breath controller unit.
23. A breath control device, for controlling the tone
generation of an electronic musical instrument, com
tion, middle air ?ow sensor section, and bottom
section are con?gured entirely within said passage
ways and detect air ?ow through said passageways
in ?rst and second directions, corresponding to
blowing and sucking actions by a performer, re
spectively.
prising:
a hand-held breath sensor unit having a plurality of
.air ?ow passageways therein, each air ?ow pas
13. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 12,
sageway having at least one air flow sensor
wherein said top section has an upper major surface and
mounted therein, said air ?ow sensors providing air
a lower major surface, said upper major surface having
flow signals proportional to the magnitude and
a ?rst pressure sensitive transducer and a second pres
direction of the air flow through said passageways;
sure sensitive transducer con?gured thereon.
14. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 13,
wherein said upper major surface further includes a
plurality of switches con?gured thereon.
15. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 12,
a control transducer mounted on the breath sensor
unit, for providing one or more control signals in
response to activation by a performer;
tone control means, electrically coupled to said
breath sensor unit so as to receive said air flow
further comprising a plurality of directional air ?ow
signals and said control signal, comprising:
baffles, ‘mounted on said lower surface of said upper air
flow sensor section, wherein each air ?ow sensor is
analog to' digital conversion means, for receiving
said air ?ow signals and said control signal and
converting them into digital air ?ow signals and
mounted on a directional air flow baf?e so that a differ
ing air ?ow response is provided for a sucking and a
blowing air flow direction past the air flow sensor.
16. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 13, 45
wherein the lower major surface of said bottom section
has a third pressure sensitive transducer thereon for
detecting the pressure applied by the lower lip of a
performer blowing or sucking on the breath sensor unit.
17. A breath controller unit as set out in claim 12,
wherein said bottom section further comprises a thumb
wheel controller means mounted therein for providing
a thumb wheel control output signal in response to
rotation thereof.
'
18. A breath controller unit, for controlling an elec
tronic musical synthesizer, comprising:
a housing unit, having a plurality of air flow passage
ways therein, said passageways having openings at
both ends so as to allow two-way air ?ow there
digital control signals, respectively;
tone pitch mapping means for receiving said digital
air ?ow signals and providing a tone pitch signal
for each air flow signal and a tone volume con
trol signal related to the magnitude of the air
?ow signal; and
means, coupled to said tone pitch mapping means,
for receiving one of said control transducer out
put signals and providing a tone control signal in
response thereto.
24. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said control transducer is a thumb wheel con
troller.
25. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said tone control ' means further comprises
means coupled to said control transducer for varying
the tone volume signal in relation to said tone control
through in response to blowing or sucking actions 60 transducer signal.
of a performer;
26. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
air ?ow sensor means, positioned in each passageway,
further comprising a plurality of switches, mounted on
for detecting bidirectional air ?ow through said
the breath sensor unit for providing a plurality of switch
passageway and providing an air ?ow signal re
output signals in response to activation thereof by the
lated to the direction and magnitude of the air ?ow 65 performer.
past said sensor;
27. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
pressure sensing means, con?gured on the outside of
wherein said control transducer comprises pressure
said housing unit, for sensing pressure applied
transducer means, mounted on said breath sensor unit,
19
5,245,130
20
for providing a pressure signal corresponding to pres
sure applied thereto by the performer.
means for varying said tone pitch signals in response to
said second force signals.
28. A breath control device as set out in claim 27,
wherein said pressure transducer means is a thick ?lm
means, controllable by the performer, for assigning
pressure sensing resistor.
32. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said tone control means further comprises
‘
speci?ed air ?ow sensors to a group of notes and storing
data corresponding to said sensor to note group assign
29. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said tone control means further comprises a
ment.
33. A breath control device as set out in claim 32,
further comprising means, mounted on said sensor unit
threshold detection circuit for detecting when said air
flow signals exceed a threshold value and providing a
NOTE ON signal in response thereto.
30. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
further comprising a microphone configured on said
sensor unit, said microphone providing a signal corre
sponding to detected audio sounds of the performer to
and operable by the performer, for providing a note
group change signal and wherein said tone control
means further comprises means for changing the assign
ment of sensors to a group of notes in repsonse to said
note group change signal.
34. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said tone control means further comprises
means, responsive to one of said control signals, for
the tone control means.
31. A breath control device as set out in claim 23,
wherein said control transducer comprises a ?rst force
providing a pitch change signal and wherein said means
for receiving increments the tone pitch of each pitch
sensing ?lm and a second force sensing ?lm, providing
?rst and second force output signals, respectively, and
assigned to each air flow sensor by one octave in re
sponse to the pitch change signal.
*
wherein said tone control means further comprises
25
35
45
50
55
65
t
i
i
i
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement