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Mark Hoffman

(b Hanau, June 20, 1839; d Hanau, Jan 13, 1900). German acoustician, son of Georg Appunn. At the Leipzig Conservatory he continued the acoustical experiments of his father, especially the determination of vibration ratios of very high tones by optical means, and constructed fine acoustic apparatus. He devised a new shape for the glockenspiel, with right-angled metal rods in a circular arrangement and a metal half-sphere above as a resonator....

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(b Hanau, Sept 1, 1816; d Hanau, Jan 14, 1888). German musical theorist and acoustician. He studied theory with Anton André and Schnyder von Wartensee, the piano with Suppus and Alois Schmitt, the organ with Rinck and the cello with Mangold. He became a well-rounded musician who could play almost every instrument. Until ...

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Bryan S. Wright

[Emil ]

(b Hanover, Germany, May 20, 1851; d Washington, DC, Aug 3, 1929). Inventor of German birth. He graduated from the Samsonschule in Wolfenbüttel at age 14 and immigrated at 18 to the United States, working odd jobs in Washington, DC, Milwaukee, and New York City. Despite limited formal scientific education, Berliner pursued his interest in electricity and acoustics and in 1876 developed and patented an improved microphone for Bell’s newly-invented telephone. For the next seven years, he worked as a research assistant for the American Bell Telephone Company before leaving to become a freelance researcher and inventor. Between 1883 and 1886 he obtained patents for acoustic tiles and floor coverings and experimented with a lightweight internal combustion engine for helicopters.

Berliner is best remembered for developing the gramophone in 1887, a variation of Thomas Edison’s phonograph. Where the phonograph recorded sounds with a vertically-cut groove of varying depth on a rotating cylinder, Berliner’s gramophone recorded sounds with a spiraling laterally-cut groove of constant depth on the surface of a flat disc. Unlike Edison, who viewed his phonograph primarily as a tool for dictation, Berliner envisioned the commercial appeal of the gramophone as a device for home entertainment. In ...

Article

E.D. Mackerness

(b London, July 13, 1846; d London, Dec 29, 1936). English acoustician. He was principally noted for his design and manufacture of wind instruments. He had a long career with the firm of Boosey & Hawkes and when Boosey’s took over the business of Henry Distin in 1868, Blaikley was appointed works manager. He became widely known as an authority on woodwind and brass, and in 1874 devised a system of compensating pistons (patented in 1878) which Boosey & Co. adopted (see Valve). The firm continued to use equipment designed by him until the late 1980s. Blaikley also devised other improvements for trumpets, horns and trombones. In 1875 he joined the (Royal) Musical Association and in 1878 read the first of many papers to that society. This highly technical discussion of resonance was followed by others on such subjects as quality of tone in wind instruments (...

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Article

William Brooks and George L. Frow

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931). American inventor. He had only a few months of formal schooling before becoming successively a newsboy, a food hawker on trains and a telegraph operator. In 1870, with money received from the sale of telegraphic inventions, he founded a research laboratory. There he constructed the carbon telephone transmitter (1876), the cylinder phonograph (1877) and the first practical electric light (1879). These devices brought him instant fame, and he spent much of the rest of his life in their improvement; he also aided the creation of the myth that surrounds his achievements. The phonograph was a badly flawed novelty when it was first introduced, and Edison abandoned it until the late 1880s when, challenged by Charles Tainter’s graphophone, he organized his own recording company. Although he portrayed himself as financially naive, Edison displayed ruthlessness and skill in the subsequent battles between companies. He clung stubbornly to his original ideas, accepting such innovations as disc records and spring-driven machines only under the pressure of competition. He also held strong opinions about music, despite his congenital deafness, and these sometimes adversely affected his choice of artists. Although his vision of the phonograph as a viable recording device for music was largely realized by others, Edison continues to be regarded, in the public mind, as the creator of the recording industry....

Article

Sue Carole DeVale

(b Newton, MA, Nov 14, 1850; d Forest Glen, MD, May 31, 1930). American ethnologist. He studied biology at Harvard (AB 1875, PhD 1877), and later studied at Leipzig and the University of Arizona. He was field director of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition (1889–94), and, commissioned by Mary Hemenway, tested the value of the phonograph for fieldwork in March 1890 by recording songs of the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine. These were soon followed by his Zuni (1890) and Hopi Pueblo (1891) recordings which were then analysed by Benjamin Ives Gilman. He was responsible for the Hemenway Exhibition at the Madrid exhibition of 1892 commemorating Columbus's discovery of America, and consequently received many honours. As a result of his work in Madrid, Hemenway later commissioned recordings by Gilman. From 1895 to 1918 Fewkes worked as an ethnologist at the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, DC, becoming chief in ...

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Sue Carole DeVale

(b Cuba, March 15, 1838; d Washington DC, April 6, 1923). American ethnologist. She devoted herself to the study of the Great Plains Indians, so completely winning their confidence that she was privileged to gather data and record ceremonials and rituals not usually witnessed by non-Indians. While living on the Omaha reservation in 1881, she became interested in the education of the 24-year-old son, Francis, of Chief Joseph La Flesche. She took him to Washington where he lived with her, as her ‘son by adoption’, until 1910; with him, Fletcher wrote an important monograph on the Omaha tribe (1911).

Fletcher, who was an assistant at the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology from 1882, began collecting ethnological and musical data in 1883 among the Omaha and Dakota Indians. She also wrote about other tribes and kinship groups and transcribed hundreds of songs including the first complete record of the Pawnees’ Hako ceremony. Initially she notated melodies by ear, having her informants repeat each song until she was satisfied that she had an accurate transcription. Soon after the pioneer field use of the Edison phonograph by Jesse Walter Fewkes in ...

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Rudolf A. Rasch

(b Buitenzorg [now Bogor], Java, Aug 17, 1887; d Beekbergen, Sept 24, 1972). Dutch physicist and acoustician. He took the doctorate in physics in 1913 at the University of Leiden, and studied with Einstein in Zürich, Rutherford in Manchester and Bragg in Leeds. He taught physics at Delft Gymnasium (1921–3) and Technical College (1923–7), and was Lorentz's assistant (1927) and director of the physics section (1928–55) at Teyler’s Stichting, Haarlem, concurrently occupying the chair founded by this institute at Leiden (1928–55). During these years Fokker became one of the foremost physicists in the Netherlands, and with the suspension of academic activity under the German occupation he turned to problems of musical aesthetics, his chief interests being the theories of Euler and Christiaan Huygens. He constructed two pipe organs, one (1943) with just intonation scales according to the principles of Euler’s ...

Article

James F. Bell

revised by Clive Greated

(b Königsberg, Nov 26, 1832; d Paris, Oct 2, 1901). German physicist. Although Helmholtz was his principal professor at the University of Königsberg, Koenig's research was not in acoustics. After receiving the PhD in physics, Koenig apprenticed himself to the Parisian violin maker Vuillaume. Koenig completed his apprenticeship in 1858 and set up shop at the Quai d'Anjou, where he remained for the rest of his life, making tuning-forks of great precision for his tonometer which covered the entire audible range of frequencies. He constructed remarkably precise clock tuning-forks, sirens, ingenious compound sirens, improved Helmholtz resonators and a wide variety of other apparatuses. The quality of his instruments became legendary, and they became the physics tools for university laboratories in Europe and the USA. He was commissioned by the French government to make the apparatus for establishing ‘Diapason normal’, a′ = 435; and he improved Léon Scott's ‘phonautograph’ of ...

Article

William Waterhouse

(b Brussels, March 10, 1841; d St Jean-Cap Ferrat, June 17, 1924). Belgian organologist, acoustician and wind instrument maker. He was the son of the maker C.B. Mahillon , with whom he collaborated from 1865. In 1877 he accepted the curatorship of the newly created Musée Instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels. Over the next half-century he systematically built up the collection to become the largest and most important of its kind in the world with over 3300 items. These he proceeded to catalogue meticulously, publishing five volumes that set new standards of scholarship for his time. He prefaced the first volume (1880) with an ‘Essai de classification méthodique de tous les instruments anciens et modernes’, the first attempt to formulate a systematic classification of musical instruments. Though this scheme has since been slightly revised, notably by Hornbostel and Sachs in 1914, it remains essentially valid today. For these achievements, he has been hailed as ‘truly the Father of Organology’ (Baines). The author of several authoritative texts on acoustics and practical aspects of wind instruments, his interests also covered many other fields: for the authentic performance of early music he built pioneering prototypes of oboe d’amore, basset-horn and high trumpet. He reproduced rare models of historic woodwind instruments (many obsolete) for his own and for other collections. He took out various patents (some in collaboration with other family members) for improvements to woodwinds and brass and also officiated at a number of international trade exhibitions. In ...

Article

Paul Sheren

(b Milan, July 27, 1777; d Milan, March 12, 1849). Italian scene painter and designer. He began his career designing scenery and decorating new theatres in conjunction with other leading artists such as Paolo Landriani, Giovanni Pedroni, Giovanni Perego and Giorgio Fuentes. From 1817 to 1832 he was sole designer and chief scene painter for La Scala. From this powerful position during a rich period of operatic output, he influenced design standards for the works of Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart, Meyerbeer, Rossini and many other later composers until well into the 20th century. Among the hundreds of operas and ballets he designed at La Scala were the premières of Rossini’s La gazza ladra (1817), Bellini’s Norma (1831) and Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia (1833).

Sanquirico’s designs were the foundation of the style commonly associated with 19th-century grand opera. They combined the restrained neo-classicism of his early training with the romantic trait of basing stage fantasy on historical accuracy and sensibility. Vast enough in scale to accommodate the epic quality of lyric drama, they were intimate enough and sufficiently ‘realistic’ to render human passions credible and reasonably natural. He tended to prefer spacious settings with single perspective, unlike the more intricate plans of the late Baroque period. A typical Sanquirico formula, widely copied and still theoretically valid, was to set a scene in a richly decorated architectural foreground which opened out on to a broad landscape view painted on a backdrop, profound in its simplicity (see overleaf). This solved many technical problems of scale and, at the same time, satisfied the aesthetic needs of romantic audiences for spectacle. The end of his career saw the introduction of gas lighting in theatres, and his painted scenery showed a sensitivity to the nuances of light which later scene painters lost because of advances in lighting control. One reason for Sanquirico’s international influence was that portfolios of hand-coloured engravings based on his theatrical and architectural drawings were published and extensively circulated and copied (...

Article

Erich Tremmel

(b Ingolstadt, Feb 16, 1803; d Munich, Feb 25, 1890). German scientist, acoustician, inventor and writer on music . He moved to Munich in 1827 where he met the flute virtuoso and maker Theobald Boehm, with whom he shared a life-long friendship; Schafhäutl’s studies of theoretical and practical acoustics informed many of Boehm’s improvements to musical instruments, including the cylindrical metal flute (1846) and, later, the oboe and bassoon. In about 1833 their first invention, the Teliophon (a pianoforte with a rounded belly) was stolen and shortly afterwards patented in London; the ensuing lawsuit brought them to England in early 1834. While there Schafhäutl began to work on metallurgical experiments; meanwhile he corresponded for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, writing accounts of English organ making, church music and the 1835 York festival.

After his return to Bavaria in 1841, Schafhäutl became professor of geology, mining and metallurgy at Munich university. With Caspar Ett he engaged in the debate about the reform of Catholic church music, gradually shifting his support from the cause of musical historicism, based on the traditions of unaccompanied vocal polyphony, to become a passionate defender of Classical orchestral masses against the polemical attacks of F.X. Witt....

Article

Kevin Mooney

(b Montjoie [now Monschau], Nov 11, 1777; d Krefeld, Nov 20, 1837). German acoustician. He was a silk manufacturer in Krefeld, and had a lifelong interest in acoustics. He is best known for his proposal to the Stuttgart Congress of Physicists in 1834 that the pitch a′ have a standard frequency of 440 Hz (this being the mean of contemporary Viennese pianos); a′ 440 has consequently been called ‘the Stuttgart pitch’. Scheibler also developed a ‘tonometer’ consisting of 52 tuning-forks, each tuned to beat about four times a second with its higher and lower neighbours (beat frequencies were first treated systematically by Sauveur in 1701); this apparatus, now lost, is described in his Der physikalische und musikalische Tonmesser (Essen, 1834). A 56-fork tonometer spanning the octave a=220 to a′=440 did survive and was described by Ellis (Helmholtz/Ellis, 1885).

Using the tonometer, Scheibler was able to manufacture tuning-forks for all 13 pitches in the equal tempered octave ...

Article

Murray Campbell

(b 1892; d 1979). American engineer and acoustician. He had a distinguished professional career as an electrical engineer, specializing in research into radio wave transmission. In 1957 he retired from the directorship of radio research at Bell Telephone Laboratories. An enthusiastic amateur cellist, Schelleng undertook a programme of research into the acoustics of the violin family in his retirement. The combination of his musical experience and his background in electrical engineering resulted in a novel and extremely fruitful approach to the study of bowed string instruments, in which he drew an analogy between the exchange of vibrational energy between the string and the body of the instrument and the flow of electrical current round a circuit. His seminal paper, ‘The Violin as a Circuit’ (1963), provided the first realistic picture of how the violin functions as a whole, and became the foundation for most subsequent work in this area. Schelling was a pivotal figure in the group of researchers in violin acoustics which adopted the whimsical name Catgut Acoustical Society at his suggestion. He worked closely with Carleen Hutchins on the development of the Violin Octet, a set of new instruments based on the application of scaling theory to the violin. He was elected a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America in ...

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Albert Wellek and Berthold Freudenberger

(b Wiesentheid, April 21, 1848; d Berlin, Dec 25, 1936). German acoustician and musicologist. Both his parents were musical, and at his various schools he learnt to play six instruments, teaching himself harmony and counterpoint. From 1865 he studied philosophy (with Brentano) and theology at Würzburg University, and philosophy and natural sciences at Göttingen University, where he took the doctorate and in 1870 completed the Habilitation in philosophy. He was professor of philosophy at the universities of Würzburg (1873), Prague (1879), Halle (1884), Munich (1889) and Berlin (1893–1928), where he founded (1893) and directed the Psychologisches Institut and the Berlin Phonogrammarchiv (1900). His many well-known pupils included Hornbostel and Abraham, with whom he founded and directed the Phonogrammarchiv, Sachs, Lachmann, Schünemann and the writer Robert Musil. He founded and edited the journal Beiträge zur Akustik und Musikwissenschaft...