(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 (...
(b Springfield, MA, May 24, 1911; d Wolfeboro, NH, Aug 7, 2009). American violin maker and acoustician. After studying biology at Cornell University (AB 1933) and taking an MA in education, she went on to study violin making with Karl A. Berger (1954–9) and Simone Sacconi (1960–63), and violin acoustics with Frederick A. Saunders of Harvard University (1949–63). Her work on violin design and construction techniques was funded mostly from the sale of her own instruments. She was co-founder of the Catgut Acoustical Society, an organization that co-ordinates and disseminates information on violin acoustics. Hutchins was known internationally for her revolutionary work on the design and construction of the New violin family (or violin octet), a musically successful acoustically-matched consort of eight new instruments of the violin family. She developed two electronic testing methods for violin makers, namely ‘free plate tuning’ for violins before assembling and ‘mode tuning’ for finished instruments, which provide measurable parameters to augment and quantify traditional violin-making techniques. As well as receiving a number of honorary doctorates, in ...
D. Quincy Whitney
(b Springfield, MA, May 24, 1911; d Wolfeboro, NH, Aug 7, 2009). American violinmaker, acoustician, and writer. A trumpeter and biology graduate of Cornell University (AB 1933) and New York University (MA 1942), she left both disciplines to embrace string instruments and acoustical physics. While teaching science and woodworking at the Brearley School, chamber music colleagues convinced her to take up viola. A woodcarver since childhood, Hutchins, at age 35, decided to make a viola. Hutchins then studied luthiery with Karl A. Berger (1949–59) and Stradivari expert Fernando Sacconi. While she and Harvard physicist Frederick A. Saunders performed more than 100 acoustical experiments (1949–63), Hutchins taught herself acoustical physics by making string instruments. In 1963 Hutchins and colleagues Robert Fryxell and John Schelleng founded the Catgut Acoustical Society. She published the CAS journal for more than 30 years, helping bridge the gap between violin makers and acoustical physicists. Hutchins made more than 500 instruments, authored more than 100 technical papers on violin acoustics, and edited ...
(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 ...
(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....