Open main menu

Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/360

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

have been very sympathetic and agreeable. Lists of these earliest orchestras are extant, notably one that was got together for the performance of Monteverde's 'Orfeo' in 1607, in which appear two chitarroni. The very fine specimen of this interesting instrument here engraved is in the South Kensington Museum. The length of it is 5 feet 4 inches. It is inscribed inside 'Andrew Taus in Siena, 1621.' In the photographs published by the Liceo Comunale di Musica of Bologna, the applications of the names chitarrone and archlute—possibly by an oversight—are reversed.

[App. p.587 "The instrument described under this name is in Italy generally called Arciliuto, the name Chitarrone being given to a large chitarra, or theorbo with a shorter neck, strung with wire, and played with a plectrum. The German authorities, Praetorius (1619) and Baron (1727), were followed by the writer."]

[Archlute, Cither, Lute, Theorbo.]

[ A. J. H. ]

CHLADNI, Ernst Florens Friedrich, who has been called the father of modern acoustics, was born at Wittemberg in 1756. His father was a stern educator, and his youth was consequently spent in close application to the study of a variety of subjects, of which geography seems to have been the chief, and music very subordinate, for he did not begin to study the latter consistently till he was 19. At the college of Grimma he studied law and medicine, apparently uncertain to which to apply himself. At Leipzig in 1782 he was made doctor of laws, but soon abandoned that position and the study of jurisprudence to apply himself exclusively to physical science. His attention was soon drawn to the imperfection of the knowledge of the laws of sound, and he determined to devote himself to their investigation. His first researches on the vibrations of round and square plates, bells, and rings, were published as early as 1787. It was in connection with these that he invented the beautiful and famous experiment for showing the modes of vibration of metal or glass plates, by scattering sand over the surface.

His researches extended over a considerable part of the domain of acoustics; embracing, besides those mentioned above, investigations on longitudinal vibrations, on the notes of pipes when filled with different gases; on the theory of consonance and dissonances; the acoustical properties of concert-rooms; and the distribution of musical instruments into classes. With shortsightedness characteristic at once of the greatest and least of mortals, he thought the noblest thing to do would be to invent some new instrument on a principle before unknown. To this object he himself said that he devoted more time, trouble and money, than to his great scientific researches. The result was first an instrument which he called Euphon, which consisted chiefly of small cylinders of glass of the thickness of a pen, which were set in vibration by the moistened finger. This he afterwards developed into an instrument which he called the Clavi-cylinder, and looked upon as the practical application of his discoveries, and the glory of his life. In form it was like a square pianoforte, and comprised four and a half octaves. The sound was produced by friction from a single glass cylinder connected with internal machinery, by which the differences of the notes were produced. Its advantages were said to be the power of prolonging sound and obtaining 'crescendo' and 'diminuendo' at pleasure. After 1802, when he published his 'Treatise on Acoustics,' he travelled in various parts of Europe taking his clavi-cylinder with him, and lecturing upon it and on acoustics. In Paris, in 1808, he was introduced to Napoleon by Laplace. The Emperor with characteristic appreciation of his importance gave him 6000 francs, and desired him to have his great work translated into French, for the benefit of the nation. This work he undertook himself, and in 1809 it was published with a short autobiography prefixed, and dedicated to Napoleon. After this he resumed his travels and lectures for some years. His labours in science, mostly but not exclusively devoted to acoustics, continued up to the year of his death, which happened suddenly of apoplexy in 1827.

The following is a list of his more important works in connection with acoustics, in the order of their appearance.

1. Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges. 1787.
2. Ueber die Längentöne einer Saite. 1792
3. Ueber die longitudinal Schwingungen der Saiten und Stücke. 1796.
4. Ueber drehende Schwingungen eines States [App. p.587 amends to "Stabes"].
5. Beiträge zur Beförderung eines bessern Vortrags des Klanglehre. 1797.
6. Ueber die Töne einer Pfeife in verschiedenen Gasarten.
7. Eine neue Art die Geschwindigkeit des Schwingungen bei einem jeden Töne durch den Angeschein zu bestimmen. 1800.
8. Ueber die Wahre Ursache des Consonirens und Dissonirens 1801 (?)
9. Nachricht von dem Clavicylinder, einen neugefundenen Instrumente. 1800 (?)
10. Zweite Nachricht von dem Clavicylinder, und einem neue Baue desselben. 1837 (?)
11. Die Akustik. Breitkopf und Härtel, 1802.
12. Neue Berträge zur Akustik. Ib. 1817.
13. Beiträge zur praktischen Akustik, etc. (with remarks on the construction of instruments). Ib. 1821.
14. Kurze Uebersicht der Schall- und Klang-gelehre, etc. Schott. 1827.