Mouthpiece for reed instruments
United States Patent 2368556

This invention relates to mouthpieces for reed instruments, such as saxophones and clarinets. The object of the invention is to provide a mouthpiece in which the vibrations, the alternate compressions and rarefactions, created by the breath of the player acting upon the reed disposed upon...

Mario, Maccaferri
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Mario, Maccaferri
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This invention relates to mouthpieces for reed instruments, such as saxophones and clarinets.

The object of the invention is to provide a mouthpiece in which the vibrations, the alternate compressions and rarefactions, created by the breath of the player acting upon the reed disposed upon the mouthpiece, move through the mouthpiece in such a manner that the fundamental tone with any harmonic partials is not destroyed or changed by the super-imposition of 1( non-harmonic partials, likely to produce tone distortions and dissonances foreign to the character of the instrument.

The invention consists of a mouthpiece for reed instruments having a reed- contacting and 11 holding portion at one end and a tube connecting portion at the other end thereof, and having an interior channel from end to end, forming one tone column channel with highly polished smooth surfaces, free from corners or shoulders or dents 2 or crevices and of substantially the same crosssectional configuration throughout, and in its modified form, being only slightly larger at said tube ends.

The tip end of the mouthpiece opposed to the tip end of the reed when applied has its interior surface convexly curved and a line extended from the upper interior wall of the interior channel passes substantially in the center of the space between the tip end of the applied reed and the convexly curved tip of the mouthpiece.

The invention will be more fully described hereinafter, embodiments thereof shown in the drawing, and the invention will be finally pointed out in the claim.

In the accompanying drawingFig. 1 is a central longitudinal section of the improved mouthpiece, for a reed instrument; Fig. 2 is a plan view thereof; Fig. 3 is a side view thereof; Fig. 4 is a longitudinal section taken on line 4-4 of Fig. 3; Figs. 5 and 6 are transverse sections taken on lines 5-5 and 6-6 of Fig. 3, and Fig. 7 is a view diagrammatically showing longitudinal vibrations.

Similar characters of reference indicate corresponding parts throughout the various views.

Referring to the drawing, and more particularly to Figs. 1 to 6, an embodiment of the invention is there shown.

The body portion 15 of the mouthpiece is divided into two parts, the reed end 1.6 and the tube end. 17. The known reed of cane or of plastic, or other suitable material, is applied to the reed end by means well known, not illustrated in the drawing. The reed 9 is shown in dotted lines. The tube of the saxophone or other musical instrument also is well known and forms no part of this invention. The tube of the instrument encloses the reduced tube end 17 of the mouthpiece, the end of the tube abutting against the exterior shoulder 18 of the mouthpiece.

The circular configuration of the interior of Sthe reed portion 16 is substantially exactly the same as that in the tube portion 17 of the mouthpiece. The surface 20 is parallel with the surface 21 so that the line 6-6 in Figure 1 presents a cross-section which is substantially equal to every other cross-section. The curvatures 23 and 24 are concentric with each other, and without corners or shoulders merge into the other surfaces, as 20 and 21 for instance. The surface 20 is convexly curved to the channel. The 0 straight or conical surfaces 25 and 26 preferably taper outwardly slightly, such as results from the dimensions .622 to .630 inch as diameters.

Thus, in this form the tube portion 17 has a slight conical flare such as for instance results 25 from a .622 inch diameter of curvature to a .630 inch diameter of a curvature. The flow of the vibrations at the tube end is at right angles to the elongated opening at 35 or in horizontal dispersion in relation to the larger vertical diam30 eter 36. The tip end 27 has its interior surface 28 curved as shown, convex to the reed surface.

The reed 30 allows for a little gap between it and tip 27. The surfaces 31 and 32 of Figure 4 are parallel with each other. Thus substantially one 35 air column is formed from the reed end to the tube end. As seen from the drawing, Figure 1, a line extended from the upper wall 23 of the interior channel passes between the convexly curved tip end of the mouthpiece and tip end of 40 the applied reed. This curved portion acts to receive the breath of the player as a focus point and sets the reed into vibration, at its tip portion. The alternate compressions and rarefications then are guided through the channel 45 formed by wall 21 and by the channel formed by walls 23 and 24 and walls 25 and 26. The interior of the mouthpiece from reed to tube is highly polished and free from crevices, dents, shoulders, obstructions, etc. The junction be50 tween these two portions 16 and 17 is smooth and unbroken. The objective is that eddy current formation is prevented. While the reed portion must necessarily be at an angle to the tube portion, the angle is large, namely, 162°. In other words, the ,5. line of the inner wall of the reed portion to the axis is 18°. In one embodiment the length is 3.40 inches having the foregoing dimensions. In another it is 3.95 inches in length, with interior diameters of .622 to .670 inch, and with the reed and tube portions at an angle of about 163°. In still another embodiment, the bore dimensions are .588 to .596 inch, with a length of 3.52 and an angle of 24°. The flow or current of vibrations entering the reed portion continues without interruption to the exit end of the tube portion, without diminution or enlargement; also without refraction or reflection of the waves, and little absorption due to the highly polished surfaces.

Though at an angle to each other as they necessarily must be, the portions act to form one single tone or air column so that the nodal point determines the character of the wave formation from end to end of the mouthpiece, both for the fundamental and for the partial vibrations.

Such reed mouthpieces act also under the principles of edge tone vibrations, and these are combined with the reed tone vibrations, and by having a continuous flow cross-section without dents, crevices, etc., there are no detrimental super tones or overtones produced.

The angular relationship in respect to the dimensions stated enables the sound waves to bypass without the formation of eddies, and to have the angular passageway act substantially as one single open-ended tone or air column of straight form with the nodes between and not at the ends of the mouthpiece channel. The angle of 163°, plus-minus, is such as to prevent reflection of waves or uneven distribution. There is an absence of interference.

The material used in the improved mouthpieces is such as to absorb very little sound, particularly due to the high polish given to the interior surfaces, and its continuous interior air passage is so highly polished that no resistance to the oscillating movement of air particles in vibration is presented. There are no cracks, crevices, dents, juncture lines, etc. to absorb sound vibrations.

The wave length of the tone may be deter-. mined by multiplying the length of the stopper pipe by 4. The wave length multiplied by the frequency will give the velocity of sound in the medium. Knowing the velocity of sound, the length of the pipe may be determined to produce a certain pitch. The mouthpiece dimensions have been determined in respect to these rules, and in relation to a tube with stops.

Any edge tones, with their eddies, form standing wave conditions and the air-column acts as a resonator to re-enforce through its standing waves the feeble edge tones. The tone is generated by the edge but resonated by the air-column.

By the construction described the effect of the air-column is so strong that it will force its natural frequency on the weak edge tone while being very little affected by the natural frequency of the edge tone.

In the reed tones, the air is periodically interrupted at the frequency of the reed. Considered as an open pipe, loops form at both ends, and i; a node is produced in the middle, or multiple nodes between the open ends. The air-column in the open pipe may be likened to a steel bar clamped at its mid-point and vibrating longitudinally. Compression and rarefaction travel in- 71 ward from the ends, meet, and are reflected at the central node, as shown diagrammatically in Figure 7, in which a metal rod 50 is supported at its central point 51 by a pedestal 52. The double headed arrows 53 are longer at the ends 7; than towards the center of the rod. The arrows indicate in magnified form the relative amount of longitudinal vibrations. The rod 50 is hold at its nodal point by the pedestal 51. As a result .5 of the super-position of direct and reflected waves, the two ends are alternately slightly shortened and lengthened. If upper partials are produced, additional nodes form. The open pipe, whether it be conical or cylindrical, can produce a tone containing even and odd numbered partials. Should the saxophone or other reed instrument be regarded as a closed pipe, closed by the lips and the relatively stiff cane reed, then closed pipe actions prevail. The conical char1.5 acter of the saxophone enables it to produce the full harmonic series. As to the closed end just referred to, it must be noted that the chink between the reed and mouthpiece never shuts completely.

The diameter of the improved mouthpiece is comparable to the length of the vibrating aircolumn and this tends to purify the tone more and more the higher the pitch produced. Since at loop points the air particles move back and 53 forth slightly, and there is no motion at the nodes, a very deep dent in the wall of a smallscaled pipe has the effect of slowing down (flatting) the pitch of whatever fundamentals have loops at that point, and not having this effect ;,u on those having nodes at the dent point. Such a dent in the wall also tends to distort the harmonic series of many or all of the tones producible, with corresponding variations in relative strength in the case of a steady state vibration.

;:3 By smoothing the interior surface of the mouthpiece and omitting pockets, obstructions, shoulders, sharp corners, etc., and highly polishing the surfaces, as before described, these objections have been overcome by this improved mouthjo piece. The tone quality of a channel without dents or obstructions is unaltered because the cross-section of the mouthpiece is substantially the same throughout, the surfaces highly polished and the surfaces made free from obstructions.

.45 It is therefore seen that the invention emphasizes the importance of a smooth interior, without obstructions and without pockets and without dents, and that the vibrations are set into operations in the mouthpiece without distorting " the harmonic series, but to produce steady state vibrations in the mouthpiece which will be amplified or resonated in the tube or pipe of the musical instrument to which the mouthpiece is attached.

The relationship of curved mouthpiece tip and tip of the reed in line with the wall 24, also aid in the desired tone productions, as also the curved wall 20.

I have described several forms of my inven,. tion, but obviously various changes may be made in the details disclosed without departing from the spirit of the invention as set out in the following claim.

What I claim is: In a mouthpiece for reed instruments, having a body portion with an interior cornerless channel, the reed end being shaped to receive a reed, and having an inlet opening longitudinally elongated, and the tube end being shaped to connect ) with the tube of the musical instrument to which the mouthpiece is to be applied and having an outlet opening, the combination of the reed end and tube end angularly disposed to each other at an angle of about 163°, plus or minus, and 5 having a highly polished smooth interior channel with a surface free from crevices, dents or shoulders and of substantially uniform crosssectional area from the reed end to the tube end, the reed end of the mouthpiece having at its interior a longitudinally disposed convex surface opposed to the tip end of the reed, and convex curved surfaces laterally of the mouthpiece extending from its tip inwardly about half the distance of the length of the opening, the line passing through the space between said mouth piece tip and reed tip being in line with the wall of the interior channel on the reed supporting side, said interior channel flaring slightly outwards from the angular portion of the mouthpiece to the tube end, the vertical diameter being larger than the horizontal diameter to distribute vibrations horizontally into the tube end.