Object, Instrument, Technology

See also Tuning fork

Picture: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Image
“Tuning Fork Collection Ii, Detail 1”. n.d. Berlin.
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“Tuning Fork Collection Ii, Detail 6”. n.d. Berlin.
Object, Instrument, Technology

See also Tuning fork

Picture: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Object, Instrument, Technology

Helmholtz described in his 1862 [sic] book, On the Sensations of Tone, an apparatus able to pick out specific frequencies from a sound. The Helmholtz resonator, as it is now called, consists of a rigid container of a known volume, nearly spherical in shape, with a small neck and hole in one end and a larger hole in the other end to admit the sound.

Object, Instrument, Technology

See also Helmholtz resonator

Picture: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Object, Instrument, Technology

The sound synthesiser was Helmholtz’s clearest instrumental expression of his theory of timbre, or sound quality. Whereas his spherical resonators dissected compound sounds (vowels or musical sounds) into elemental frequencies, the synthesiser did this by building up complex sounds from simple frequencies. In 1857 he went to the instrument maker Friedrich Fessel of Cologne to turn this idea into reality. The initial instruments used a combination of electrically driven tuning forks, resonators and piano keys to synthesise compound sounds.