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1800 __ Euphonium & Clavicylinder
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni (1756-1827)
Comment : Chladni produced two musical instruments the euphonium and the Clavicylinder. Since at least 1738, a musical instrument called a "Glassspiel" or "Verillon" created by filling 18 beer glasses with varying amounts of water was popular in Europe.The beer glasses would be struck by wooden mallets shaped like spoons to produce "church and other solemn music". Benjamin Franklin was sufficiently impressed by a verillon performance on a visit to London in 1757 that he created his own instrument, the "armonica" in 1762. Franklin's armonica inspired several other instruments, including two created by Chladni. The Clavicylinder was a redesign of Hooke's "musical cylinder" or string phone. In July 1664 Hooke conduced an experiment to show the number of vibrations of a taught string, made in a certain time, gave a certain tone or note. It was found that "a wire making two hundred seventy two vibrations in one second of time sounded G Sol Re Vt. in the Scale of all Musick". Hooke had noted that middle C had 272 beats a second. In 1791, Chladni invented the musical instrument called "Chladni's Euphonium" (not to be confused with the brass instrument euphonium), consisting of glass rods of different pitches. Chladni's euphonium is the direct ancestor of the modern day musical instrument known as the Cristal Baschet. Chladni also improved on the Hooke "musical cylinder" to produce another instrument, the "Clavicylinder", in 1799. Chladni invented a musical instrument called the 'Euphonium' made of glass rods and steel bars that were sounded by being rubbed with the moistened finger, and traveled about Europe performing on this instrument and giving scientific lectures.Chladni's accomplishments in the field of instrument making were until recently not nearly as well-respected as his studies on the modes of vibration of plates and rods. However, he had developed his own friction instruments based on the glass harmonica, a popular instrument of his time. The instruments, which he partially built himself, had keys, which distinguished them from the glass harmonica. Additionally, these instruments differed from traditional keyboard instruments as they enabled the crescendo and decrescendo of individual notes after the key had been struck. Although Chladni's clavicylinder fascinated audiences and prompted imitations by many instrument makers, it was largely ignored by composers and pianists and therefore never became part of standard orchestration. The Museum of Musical Instruments of the University of Leipzig features three rare examples of friction instruments which have outlasted the centuries. These instruments were built according to the Chladni principle. The Clavicylinder is a keyboard instrument : depressing a key pressed a tuned metal bar against a revolving glass cylinder, thus causing the bar to sound by friction. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : L'Euphon et le Clavicylinder sont tous deux fondés sur la production du son par des bâtonnets en verre frottés manuellement ou bien par un cylindre.lui aussi en verre.tournant continuellement. Ces instruments ne donnèrent peut-être pas à Chladni la renommée qu'il espèrait; cependant, ils lui assurèrent au moins la survie. Jusqu'à sa mort en 1827, Chladni continua en fait à voyager en présentant au public ses découvertes acoustiques et ses instrument, en envoyant à l'"Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung" des chroniques sur la vie musicale des villes qu'il visitait et en collaborant avec plusieurs institutions scientifiques. Une caractéristique de la perspective continuelle de Chladni est qu'il ne considérait pas uniquement l'acoustique en tant qu'étude des vibrations harmoniques des cordes et des tuyaux d'air, ni comme doctrine de la propagation du son ou des ondes sonores. La fondation d'une véritable science des sons exige selon lui un élargissement de perspective : tout corps élastique et toute espèce d'oscillation rentre de droit dans cette matière, indépendamment de son utilisation dans la tradition musicale historique. A ce sujet, Chladni s'explique dès le début de son "Traité d'Acoustique" : « Pendant qu'on avançait plusieurs branches de la Physique, l'Acoustique restait toujours en arrière. Les vibrations sonores de la plupart des corps élastiques étaient tout-à-fait inconnues, et ordinairement on n'avait égard qu'aux vibrations transversales d'une corde, qu'on regardait comme la base de toute l'harmonie, et dont on voulait attribuer les lois à tous les autres corps sonores". (Alessandro Arbo)
Source : Arbo, Alessandro (2007), "Perspectives de l'esthétique musicale: entre théorie et histoire", Paris, Editions de l'Harmattan, pp. 260-263.
Source : McVeigh, Daniel P. (2000), “An Early History of the Telephone 1664-1865”, electronic publication, with the help of Jean Gagnon, Daniel Langlois Foundation, and Don Foresta, MARCEL, 2000.
Urls : http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/projects/bluetelephone/html/chladni.html (last visited )

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