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James F. Bell

revised by Murray Campbell

(b Richwood, OH, June 13, 1868; d Cambridge, MA, Jan 10, 1919). American acoustician. He studied at Ohio State University and Harvard, where he taught physics from 1890; between 1895 and 1919 he laid the foundations of architectural acoustics on the basic principles of engineering design. C.W. Eliot, president of Harvard, prevailed on Sabine to try to correct the serious problem of reverberation in the lecture hall of the Fogg Art Museum, his first acoustical project. At Eliot’s urging he also served as consultant for the Boston Music Hall: his outstanding success there illustrated the effects that could be achieved when acoustical engineering design preceded construction. Sabine’s discovery of the relation among reverberation time, absorbent capacity and the volume of an auditorium was a fundamental and new contribution; he earned a lasting reputation for the scope and perception of his work. It is indeed appropriate that the unit of sound-absorbing power is named the ‘sabine’. His ...

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

C. Truesdell

revised by Murray Campbell

(b La Flèche, March 24, 1653; d Paris, July 9, 1716). French acoustician. In 1670 he went to Paris, where he attended the lectures of the Cartesian physicist Rohault; his works do not display the knowledge of advanced mathematics that characterizes the scientific progress of the age of Newton, although he held a chair of mathematics for a decade. He was elected to membership of the Académie des Sciences (1696), which left him free to develop his interest in acoustics. He thoroughly mastered the idea of frequency and was the first to interpret beats correctly. He also introduced the terms ‘acoustique’ (acoustics), ‘son harmonique’ (harmonic sound) and ‘noeud’ (node). His papers, though not so original as he may have thought them, were fairly clear and descriptive; they were very widely read, and certainly they had great effect upon the centrally important work of Daniel Bernoulli a quarter of a century later. He suffered from a speech defect and is said to have had no ear for music. His works include ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Van Noorden, Philip Van Loon Guybo Schaap ]

(b New York, April 8, 1951). American disc jockey and record producer. His father, Walter Schaap, a scholar and a translator of French jazz texts, collaborated in 1937 with Hugues Panassié and Charles Delaunay in creating a bilingual jazz periodical, Le jazz hot. In 1970 Phil Schaap became an announcer for Columbia University’s radio station WKCR; later he also worked at the radio stations WBGO and WNYC and had a syndicated program, “Jazz Session.” This radio work is characterized by his encyclopedic and anecdotal knowledge of the material he plays; he is especially known for his daily WKCR program “Bird Flight,” on which he discusses and plays recordings by Charlie Parker. Schaap organized jazz performances at the West End Café in 1980. He has taught at the New School for Social Research and at Princeton University, and he has written liner notes for new and reissued recordings.

As a record producer Schaap has been involved in tape vault research, the restoration of archived materials, and the production and packaging of material to be reissued. In this capacity he strives for the best possible sound and incorporates such ancillary material as alternate and incomplete takes, or assorted studio chatter, within the chronological presentation of originally released material. Though this exhaustive approach generally reflects contemporaneous trends in jazz issues, and has been much praised, it has also engendered some criticism, particularly following Schaap’s reorganization of Duke Ellington’s classic Columbia LP ...

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 ...

Article

(b Augsburg, June 7, 1926; d Vienna, June 2, 2015). Austrian scene designer of German birth. He was guided to study scene design by Clemens Krauss, through whom he gained early experience in scene painting at the Staatsoper in Munich, where he studied with Sievert, Preetorius and Rudolf Hartmann. From 1947 to 1954 he designed for theatres and films in Berlin, Munich and Salzburg. In 1952 he began his 20-year association with the Salzburg marionette theatre, eventually revolutionizing the design of the puppet stage and creating several new productions of Mozart operas. In 1954 he was named chief of design at the Bremen Staatstheater, where he designed his first Ring. After collaborating with Karajan on Pelléas et Mélisande at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1960 he became Karajan’s personal adviser on production, moving in 1962 to Vienna where he was appointed chief designer for the Staatsoper, the Burgtheater and the Volksoper. He made his Covent Garden début in ...

Article

Jeff E. Winner

(b Brooklyn, NY, Sept 10, 1908; d North Hills, CA, Feb 9, 1994). American composer, electronic music pioneer, electronic instrument inventor, and pianist. After attending Brooklyn Technical High School, he studied theory, composition, and piano at the Juilliard School of Music. Following his graduation in 1931, he became a pianist for the CBS Radio orchestra. In 1934, at age 25, he wrote his first hit, later recorded by Louis Armstrong.

In 1936 he assembled a six-piece “Quintette” from his CBS colleagues, including Bunny Berigan, and Johnny Williams, father of movie score composer John Williams. Following successful live radio performances, they began recording on 20 February 1937. Scott’s compositions for this band represent his attempts to rejuvenate Swing music with minimal improvisation and busy, tight arrangements. He dubbed the style “descriptive jazz,” and the Quintette was popular until he disbanded it in 1939. Though Scott didn’t score cartoons, these compositions are familiar to millions because they were adapted into classic Warner Bros. ...

Article

Manfred Boetzkes

(b Hanover, May 17, 1887; d Munich, Dec 11, 1966). German stage designer. After studying scene painting at the Stadttheater and at the school of applied arts in Aachen, he worked in various, chiefly Rhenish, scenic studios as a painter, 1904–9. He then became artistic director of the Werkstätte für Bühnenkunst in Munich (1910) and of the important Studio Lüttkemeyer in Coburg (1911), before going to the Städtische Bühnen in Freiburg (1912–14) as artistic director. There followed engagements as director of design at Mannheim (1914–18), Frankfurt (1918–37) and Munich (1937–43), as well as invitations to work at other European and American opera houses.

Sievert’s work was at first influenced by neo-romanticism and the reforms of Jugendstil. He played a part in the development of the anti-historicist and anti-naturalist Stilbühne, to which he gave a craftsmanlike, ornamental stamp which asserted itself later, especially in his Mozart productions. The radicalization of the ...