October’s ‘Rockin Patents’ with Russell IP

|

Iain Russell, Founder and Director of Russell IP shares some of the interesting music industry patents that he featured on his Patents Rock® site in October.

A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. At the start of each month, Iain compiles a short list of all the Rockin’ Patents® that he’s featured in the previous month. We thought that you might like to see some of the up and coming, innovative things that music industry companies are inventing, as well as older and more unusual inventions.

Concert Technology Corp’s “Music Search Engine”

What’s claimed?
 ”A method for encoding music for searching, the method comprising the steps of: generating a database of a plurality of songs; assigning an index value for each note of at least a portion of each of a plurality of songs in the song database; generating a difference sequence by calculating a difference of the index values between successive notes of each of the plurality of songs; inputting a sequence of notes; assigning an index value for each note of at least a portion of the input sequence; generating an input difference argument by calculating a difference of the index values between every two successive notes of at least a portion of the input sequence; and searching the database to find the song with the difference sequence exactly matching the difference argument; comparing hit number of exact matches between the difference argument and the difference sequences of the songs in the database to a predetermined threshold number; and performing a near search when the hit number is smaller than the predetermined threshold number.”

Why this patent rocks:
This patent involves a music search engine that can find songs. Users have the option to search by music (notes), song attributes, or song patterns. The engine is used typically with a MIDI instrument or a keyboard/mouse to enter notes but also can be used by singing or humming a melody into a voice instrument (microphone). The method can identify the closest match for songs even when the note sequence contains mistakes or is in the wrong key.

Randall L. May’s “Adjustable Pitch Drum”

What’s claimed?
 ”An adjustable musical drum assembly comprising, a cylindrical drum shell having an open end, a supporting spider having a fixed support with a threaded opening therein substantially axial of said drum shell, said spider having a plurality of outwardly extending supporting legs having rebent outer end portions fitting over the open end of said drum shell, a drum hoop positioned around the rebent end portions of said spider supporting legs and securing the same on said drum shell, a threaded supporting rod having one end threaded adjustably in said threaded opening, a locking nut threaded on said rod and adapted to lock said rod in said threaded opening in any predetermined position, and drum head tuning means comprising a drum head mounted on supporting means rotatably threaded on said rod and tension means non-rotatably mounted on the rod end opposite said one end of said rod, said drum head being stretched over said tension means, whereby rotation of said drum head supporting means varies the tension of the drum head and threaded of said supporting rod in said supporting spider varies the spacing of said drum head from said shell open end.”

Why this patent rocks:
This patent involves the ‘Rototom’ drum which can be tuned simply by rotating the drumhead. Rotation raises or lowers the tension hoop relative to the rim which increases or decreases the tension of the drumhead, thereby increasing or decreasing the pitch. Notable users include Queen, Duran Duran, and the Foo Fighters. If you’re curious to know more about the Rototom, see here.

iZotope Inc’s “System And Method For Pitch Adjusting Vocals”


What’s claimed?
”A method performed by a processor, comprising: receiving a first audio signal; extracting a vocal signal from the first audio signal; receiving a second audio signal; determining a pitch for the second audio signal; determining a pitch for the extracted vocal signal by limiting a pitch detection range based on the determined pitch of the second audio signal; and adjusting the pitch of the second audio signal based on a difference between the determined pitch of the extracted vocal signal and the second audio signal.”

Why this patent rocks:
This patent describes a method that assists a singer and corrects their pitch and that is adapted for live performances, such as karaoke. Parts of the patent appear to be written in a tongue-in-cheek manner in stating ‘‘a singer’s enthusiasm may be far greater than their singing talent” and that off-key singing “can cause the performance to be much less enjoyable both for the singer and the audience”.

Powerchord Group Limited’s “Method Of Augmenting An Audio Content”

What’s claimed?
 ”A method of augmenting an ambiently experienced audio content, the method comprising: recording an acoustic audio signal from the ambiently experienced audio content using a microphone; receiving a wireless signal comprising a first audio signal and a second audio signal, the wireless signal received using a first wireless communication system, wherein the first audio signal comprises sound that is also audible within the ambiently experienced audio content and the second audio signal comprises sound that is inaudible within the ambiently experienced audio content; comparing the first audio signal with the acoustic audio signal to determine a delay between the acoustic audio signal and the first audio signal; delaying the second audio signal by the determined delay; and reproducing the delayed second audio signal at an audible volume, such that it is substantially synchronized with the ambiently experienced audio content.”

Why this patent rocks:
This patent appears to relate to the ‘Peex rX’ devices, which allow concertgoers to create their own five-channel audio mix of live shows. The patent suggests that the device allows an audience to, say, focus on vocals or drums. The patent describes automatically synchronising audio sources and suggests that the device receives clear sound from the stage and allows anyone, even if they are the back of the crowd, to experience optimal sound. This technology made its debut in Elton John’s farewell tour (see here for more information).

Artiphon Inc’s “Ergonomic Electronic Musical Instrument With Pseudo-strings”

What’s claimed?
 ”A musical device comprising: a body having a plurality of triggers and ergonomic features correlating to at least two-stringed instruments that are played using different playing techniques, the ergonomic features further comprising a neck having an underside, the underside having a smaller neck outline inset from a larger neck outline, wherein the smaller neck outline provides a thumb-rest that approximates the width of violin’s neck and the larger neck outline approximates the width of a guitar’s neck; a plurality of sensors; at least one trigger that is associated with at least one of the plurality of sensors for tactile user input; a switch to toggle the device between the at least two playing techniques, wherein each of the at least two playing techniques comprises receiving different tactile user input; and wherein the ergonomic features of the body of the device allow the user to hold the device in positions familiar to musicians of the at least two stringed instruments.”

Why this patent rocks:
This patent appears to relate to Ariphon Inc’s ‘Instrument 1’; a MIDI controller that allows you to strum, bow, tap, slide, and drum any sound on a single interface. It appears that the device is pressure- and force-sensitive and can be held and handled consistently with playing techniques of multiple instruments. It also appears to connect directly to MIDI devices and amplifiers. If you’re curious to watch the Instrument 1 in action, see here.

If you’re a patent-savvy music tech business looking for patent help, get in touch with Russell IP here!