New Yamaha patents

Raining like crazy today, so it’s a good chance to look for new patents and patent applications.

First, here are a few new technical patents assigned to Yamaha. US Patent 9,536,508 titled “Accompaniment data generating apparatus,” awarded on January 3, 2017, describes accompaniment generation using a combination of MIDI and audio waveforms. The accompaniment generator follows chord changes, etc. just like today’s arrangers except that it also plays back melodic (pitched) audio phrases as well as MIDI. This is very likely the nexus of the next generation of Yamaha arrangers (flagship “GENOS“).

US Patent 9,514,728 titled “Musical performance apparatus that emits musical performance tones and control tones for controlling an apparatus,” awarded December 6, 2016, describes a system for near ultrasonic communication between a tablet and a keyboard. Software on the tablet controls tone generation on the keyboard, allowing an app to play back a musical performance (e.g., MIDI over near ultra sonic sound). I suspect that some future Yamaha patent will use this technology for wireless tablet to keyboard communication in place of Bluetooth or WiFi.

The third patent, number 9,489,938 is titled “Sound synthesis method and sound synthesis apparatus” and was awarded on November 8, 2016. The patent abstract says it best:

A sound synthesis apparatus connected to a display device, includes a processor configured to: display a lyric on a screen of the display device; input a pitch based on an operation of a user, after the lyric has been displayed on the screen; and output a piece of waveform data representing a singing sound of the displayed lyric based on the inputted pitch.

Yamaha have a stellar technology base in VOCALOID. I believe they are working toward a real-time system to sing lyrics. This would be a real breakthrough especially for pitch-challenged vocalists like me!

Finally, Yamaha was awarded several design patents covering the external industrial design of synth and arranger keyboards:

    D772,974   PSR-S670   November 29, 2016
    D776,189   Montage    January 10, 2017
    D778,347   YPT-255    February 7, 2017
    D778,346   Reface YC  February 7, 2017
    D778,345   Reface CP  February 7, 2017
    D778,344   Reface DX  February 7, 2017
    D778,343   Reface CS  February 7, 2017
    D778,342   ????       February 7, 2017

The final design patent, D778,342, is perplexing. I haven’t been able to associate it with a product in the North American market. A future product perhaps? It shows a 26-key keyboard with a four way, cursor-like pad. The keyboard design is E-to-F! I/O is on the left side panel.

Scat voices the newest Yamaha arrangers

The original Jazz Scat voices expansion pack for the Yamaha PSR-S950 arranger workstation remains a popular part of the site. With the Tyros5, Yamaha took a different direction and format for expansion packs. The new approach to expansion pack development and use is embodied in the Yamaha Expansion Manager, or “YEM” for short. Up to now, Tyros5 users have not been able to load and use the original Jazz Scat voices expansion pack.

That’s all changed! I’m pleased to announce the alpha test version of the Jazz Scat voices expansion pack for YEM-compatible Yamaha arranger workstations. The list of YEM-compatible arrangers include the Tyros5, PSR-S670, PSR-S770 and PSR-S970 workstations.

Why “alpha test?” At this time, I do not have access to a YEM-compatible workstation in order to do my own testing. (I’m happy with the S950, thanks.) In response to requests, however, I have produced a new YEM-compatible expansion pack. I’ve done as much testing as I can in YEM. Now, it’s your turn!

The expansion pack is in YEM project file format, sometimes called a “PPF file” because of its file extension. The PPF file must first be loaded into YEM. Once it is in YEM, you can send it to your keyboard, generate an install file (PPI format), copy voices to your own custom pack and even edit the voices themselves. That’s a lot of flexibility!

If you encounter problems, please post your issues to the PSR Tutorial Forum . If you are a PSR/Tyros user, you really should participate at the forum anyway. It’s a great place to meet other PSR/Tyros users and to learn new techniques.

Here is a link to the expansion pack. You need to download and UNZIP this file, read the README_PACK_YEM.TXT file, and then load the pack into the Yamaha Expansion Manager.

Both the scat voice expansion pack and the scat voice samples are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
ScatVoices and ScatVoice samples by Paul J. Drongowski are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

You are free to use the expansion pack voice or samples (even for commercial purposes) as long as you provide a link to from your own web site AND/OR explicitly credit me in your creative work, e.g., “Scat samples/voice by Paul J. Drongowski”.

If you would like to know more about the sampling and voice design process, please read this post. The original S750/S950 compatible pack is here. Or, feel free to listen to the MP3 demo.