An Apparatus for Percussive Harmonic Musical Synthesis Utilizing MIDI Technology (APHAMS)

Inventors: Brian Copeland, Marcel Byron, Earl Philip, Keith Maynard


Despite its novelty and appeal, the traditional acoustic steelpan instrument suffers from several disadvantages and apparent drawbacks. First, it is virtually impossible at present to manufacture a steelpan that is able to cover the widest possible musical range, from bass to soprano range, on a single drum. A direct consequence of this limitation is the fact that, except for the higher ranges that utilize up to two or three drums, the instrument is not easily portable. Another disadvantage stems from the difficulty in re-tuning the instrument as tuning is generally done by an expert. Finally, the traditional steelpan does not have the flexibility which would allow for rapid changes in timbre or voice.


An electronic musical instrument which targets the percussive melodic mode of performance, with the look and feel of tenor steelpan musical instruments, and which utilizes MIDI technology for the synthesis of a range of musical sound generation.


The APHAMS technology is embodied in the Percussive Harmonic Instrument (PHI) musical instrument. The PHI is a high end electronic synthesiser, with the appearance of a steelpan music instrument. It features a unique physical instrument interface and Musical Instrument Digital Interface, MIDI, accessing powerful PC based tools for teaching, composition, recording and editing. The PHI has the ability to deliver the sounds of an infinite range of melodic and percussive instruments, special effects and customised sounds.


  • Versatility – can play the sound of any musical instrument.
  • The PHI incorporates the sound of several steelpan instruments thus eliminating the need or an entire orchestra of different instruments
  • The PHI is light and can be easily transported
  • An expert steel pan tuner is not required to keep the instrument tuned for optimum sound
  • The arrangement of the notes on the PHI is a good teaching tool for any music training.


Patents granted in Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.

An Apparatus for Percussive Harmonic Musical Synthesis Utilizing MIDI Technology (APHAMS)


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