Yamaha TYU-40

Portable Keyboard with "Music Card" system

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Yamaha TYU-40 Keyboard


The Yamaha TYU-40 is an interesting little keyboard with several unusual features.

It offers 4-note polyphony, but the first unusual feature is that there is only one voice available for manual play, which sounds the same as the "Piano" sound on the PSS-160. There is a choice of four rhythm patterns, again sounding very similar to the PSS-160, but no auto-accompaniment (except with Music Card tunes). 

The second unusual feature for a keyboard of this size is the provision of a pitch bend wheel. Interestingly, this not only acts on the main voice, but also affects the pitch and tempo of the rhythms. The wheel itself looks and feels identical to the pitch bend wheel on the much more sophisticated PSS-780. The TYU-40 also has a transpose function, which is quite rare (but not unique) on these small keyboards.

Another unusual feature is the microphone input, which is simply amplified and played through the built-in speaker. You can't add any effects to the microphone sound.

Possibly the most interesting feature of the TYU-40 is the "Music Card" system. Supplied with the keyboard are three so-called "Music Cards", each of which purports to contain six pre-programmed music tracks. In actual fact, the cards contain no data at all, and simply have small spikes on the underside which push against sensors in the keyboard to select a different range of tunes from the set stored in the keyboard's ROM. Thus, it is impossible to add any additional tunes by purchasing extra Cards.

Tunes are selected by simply holding down the numbered key for the tune you wish to play, then press and release the Start/Stop button. It is not as complicated as WarrantyVoid seems to think :-)

The tunes themselves are quite nicely-orchestrated arrangements, with accompaniment, "obbligato" and main voice channels. The same training modes as the more sophisticated PC-100 Playcard system are provided, except the LEDs for each note shine through holes in the keys themselves, instead of being mounted above the keys as on most other keyboards. 

The "Music Card" slot looks superficially very similar to the Casio ROM Pack slots on Casio keyboards, and is clearly an attempt by Yamaha to copy the appearance of the Casio system.

The TYU-40 is a lovely-sounding little keyboard, but it's a shame the Music Cards are fake, and unfortunately my example is quite badly out-of-tune, with no obvious external method of tuning.

It retailed for £29.99 in a 1986 Argos catalogue.

Audio Samples

Here are recordings of all 18 of the Music Card tunes:

Music Card I:
  1. Beat It
  2. Just The Way You Are
  3. We've Only Just Begun
  4. Days of Wine & Roses
  5. Flashdance
  6. Endless Love
Music Card II:
  1. Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
  2. Oh, Susanna
  3. La Paloma
  4. When The Saints Go Marchin' In
  5. Frere Jacques
  6. Londonderry Air
Music Card III:
  1. I've Been Working On The Railroad
  2. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  3. Auld Lang Syne
  4. Joy To The World
  5. Jingle Bells
  6. Silent Night

Instruction Manual

The Operating Manual for the TYU-40 can be downloaded from the Yamaha Manual Library, but unfortunately this excludes the sheet music for the Music Card tunes.