Johann Heinrich Scheibler

Date of
November 11, 1777, in Monschau, Germany
Date of
January 20, 1837, in Krefeld, Germany

The silk manufacturer Johann Heinrich Scheibler invented a method to tune keyboards with unprecedented accuracy, applying principles that he had developed in his textile factory. His technique involved a set of tuning forks called a tonometer, a chronometer, and the counting of beats. It aimed to deskill tuning so that anyone could achieve precise tuning regardless of their musical ear. He explained his invention in Der physikalische und musikalische Tonmesser of 1834. It was used extensively by nineteenth-century acousticians and served as a basis for further innovations, including Rudolph Koenig’s “universal tonometer,” which extended the scale of Scheibler’s apparatus from a single octave to the entire range of the human ear. 


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Compiled by FG | Picture: CC0 | Wikimedia

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Areas of Study
Instrument Making
Music and Musicology
Instruments and Technologies
Tuning forks