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C. Truesdell and Clive Greated

(b Wittenberg, Nov 30, 1756; d Breslau [now Wrocław], April 3, 1827). German acoustician. He studied law at Leipzig University before turning to scientific studies. He invented two instruments, the ‘euphon’ and the ‘klavizylinder’, both of which were variants of the glass harmonica. However, he owes his fame to his celebrated experiments on the nodal patterns and corresponding frequencies of vibration plates. He showed that the vibration patterns, often called Chladni figures, could be made visible by sprinkling sand on the plate. The sand is thrown up on vibrating areas and collects around nodal lines. Chladni travelled through Europe playing on his instruments and demonstrating his experiments before many persons and institutions; he encountered Goethe, Lichtenberg, Olbers, Laplace, Napoleon and other notable men of the period. Chladni's experiments stimulated much early work on the vibration of plates and bars and indeed so impressed the Académie des Sciences, Paris, that it offered a prize for a successful explanation of his sand figures and the motion of elastic surfaces in general. His work helped to form the foundation of modern theories, capable of predicting precise vibration patterns for violin and guitar top plates and the soundboards of keyboard instruments....

Article

Clive Greated

(b Basle, April 4, 1707; d St Petersburg, Sept 18, 1783). Swiss mathematician, scientist and philosopher. He studied at Basle University under Johann Bernoulli. When he was 20, he took (at Daniel Bernoulli's suggestion) a post at the Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg; he held a post in Berlin (...

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(b Turin, Jan 25, 1736; d Paris, April 10, 1813). French mathematician and physicist. He was largely self-trained and was encouraged by Euler and d'Alembert, whose protégé he became. He held positions in Berlin (from 1766) and Paris (from 1787). He is remembered as an acoustician for his work in ...

Article

Murray Campbell

(b Mulhouse, ?Aug 26, 1728; d Berlin, Sept 25, 1777). German scientist. From 1748 to 1758 he was tutor to the children of a Swiss noble family; in 1765 he managed to obtain a post at the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin. He was one of those universal scientists characteristic of the 17th and 18th centuries, and was a figure of particular importance in several subjects mainly connected with physics and mathematics. He determined very precisely the frequencies of the first eight overtones of a bar in its clamped-free modes, correcting and extending Euler’s results; the results of Rayleigh and others, a century or more later, were less conclusive. Lambert projected a musical instrument, the ‘musique solitaire’, whereby a person might enjoy music through his teeth without awakening sleepers....

Article

Mark Lindley

(b Montpellier, Sept 14, 1723; d Montpellier, Nov 8, 1766). French dilettante and scientist. In December 1751 he announced his discovery of difference tones, which he had made by experiments with wind instruments. (Nearly three years later Tartini, evidently unaware of Romieu’s work, published his discovery of the same phenomenon observed in double stops on the violin.) Romieu’s ‘Mémoire théorique & practique sur les systèmes temperés de musique’, published in the ...

Article

Brian Hyer

A term first used by Choron in 1810 to describe the arrangement of the dominant and subdominant above and below the tonic and thus to differentiate the harmonic organization of modern music (tonalité moderne) from that of earlier music (tonalité antique). One of the main conceptual categories in Western musical thought, the term most often refers to the orientation of melodies and harmonies towards a referential (or tonic) pitch class. In the broadest possible sense, however, it refers to systematic arrangements of pitch phenomena and relations between them....