1-9 of 9 results  for:

  • Music Theory and Analysis x
  • 19th c. /Romantic (1800-1900) x
Clear all

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

James F. Bell

revised by Clive Greated

(b Potsdam, Aug 31, 1821; d Berlin, Sept 8, 1894). German scientist. He studied medicine at the Friedrich-Wilhelm Institut, Berlin, obtaining the doctorate in 1842. He also studied mathematics, physics and philosophy, and attended lectures at Berlin University. After service as an army surgeon, in 1848 he obtained a post in physiology and pathology at Königsberg University. Later he held a number of professorships: of anatomy and physiology at Bonn University (1855), of physiology at Heidelberg (1858), and of physics at Berlin (1871); in 1887 he became the founding director of the first institute of pure scientific research, the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt, Berlin. Helmholtz was an intellectual giant. His research covered such diverse topics as nerve impulses, colour blindness, vortex motion in the theory of fluids, and various aspects of electricity; he invented the ophthalmoscope; he created physiological optics and was a dominant figure in the area of acoustics....

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

James F. Bell

revised by Murray Campbell

(b Erlangen, March 16, 1789; d Munich, July 6, 1854). German scientist. He studied mathematics at the University of Erlangen, taking a degree in 1811. He spent the rest of his life in a series of undistinguished posts, teaching mathematics and later physics at a relatively elementary level, apart from a period (1833–49) as professor of physics and rector of the Polytechnic Institute at Nuremberg. Among his writings is the paper of 1827 which contained the famous Ohm’s Law of Electricity, which however was little recognized at the time. His contribution to music is contained in two papers (published in Annalen der Physik uns Chemie, 1843 and 1844) in which he presented what became known as Ohm’s Law of Acoustics: he suggested that musical sounds depended not on phase but on the distribution of energies among the harmonics. His research stimulated Helmholtz’s important experiments in the 1850s and 1860s, and dominated the conception of the subject for a century. Ohm’s place in musical acoustics, although less publicized, is as secure as his place in electromagnetic theory....

Article

R.W.B. Stephens

revised by Murray Campbell

(b Langford Grove, nr Maldon, Essex, Nov 12, 1842; d Witham, Essex, June 30, 1919). English scientist. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he was Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics (1879–84); later (1887–1905) he held the professorship of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution, London, and in 1905 he became president of the Royal Society. He received jointly with Sir William Ramsay a Nobel Prize for the discovery of argon.

Rayleigh was perhaps the most versatile of British physical scientists from about 1850 to 1930 and, like Helmholtz, he covered almost all branches of physics and ventured into other disciplines. His monumental Theory of Sound (1877–8/R), written over five years, is often termed the ‘bible of acoustics’ and remains a standard treatise. Among Rayleigh’s contributions to acoustics was his extension of Helmholtz’s resonator theory. He also made more precise the corrections for open and closed resonating tubes, and gave a theoretical explanation of heat-maintained vibrations in pipes (the ‘Rijke sounding-tube’ effect). Additionally he carried out investigations on singing and acoustic sensitive flames and gave a more detailed explanation of ‘whispering galleries’, attributing the effect of the St Paul’s Cathedral gallery to the slight inward slant of the circular containing walls. He also investigated the binaural effect in sound and developed the phonic motor, of considerable value for frequency measurement. Rayleigh’s collected papers, which number over 400, were published in ...

Article

James F. Bell, R.W.B. Stephens and Murray Campbell

(b Mézières, June 30, 1791; d Paris, March 16, 1841). French scientist. He was trained at Strasbourg in medicine, taking a degree in 1816. He had long been interested in acoustics when, in 1816, he abandoned medicine and went to Paris, where he came under the guidance of Biot. He became a professor of natural philosophy in 1820 and was elected to the Académie in 1827, also obtaining an appointment at the Collège de France. He is known mainly for the Biot–Savart Law of Electrodynamics. His chief interest, indicated by the titles of his 27 papers (mostly published in the Annales de chimie et de physique), was in the study of vibrating bodies. These included important and often ingenious measurements of air, cords, bars, membranes, plates, solids of revolution and, particularly, vocal cords. He proposed theories of the vocal sounds of men and animals. His repetition and extension of Chladni’s experiments with sand figures on vibrating plates and longitudinal bars led in the early 19th century to controversy over the velocity of sound in solids. In ...

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 ...

Article

Brian Hyer

(Fr. tonalité; Ger. Tonalität)

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.

A number of musical and discursive factors have contributed to a profusion of definitions for the term. There has been indecision about what musical domain the term covers: whether it applies to both Western and non-Western music, or whether, within Western musical traditions, it should be restricted to the harmonic organization of music from the so-called common practice (...

Article