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Romieu, Jean-Baptiste  

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 1758 Mémoires of the Académie Royale des Sciences, surveyed various regular tuning systems and expressed preference for ⅙-comma mean-tone temperament and its theoretical equivalent, the division of the octave into 55 equal parts.

E. Roche: ‘Notice sur les travaux de J.-B. Romieu’, Mémoires de l’Académie des sciences et lettres de Montpellier, 9 (1879)J.M. Barbour: Tuning and Temperament: a Historical Survey (East Lansing, MI, 1951/R, 2/1953)P. Barbieri: ‘Il “migliore” sistema musicale temperato: querelles fra Estève, Romieu e altri accademici francesi (c.1740–60)’, ...