The Helmholtz Legacy in Physiological Acoustics

  • Erwin Hiebert

Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 39)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Helmholtz

  3. Shohé Tanaka, Just Intonation and the Enharmonium

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 81-84
    3. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 91-93
    4. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 95-97
    5. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 99-106
    6. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 107-110
    7. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 111-122
  4. Max Planck

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 123-123
    2. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 125-130
    3. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 131-139
  5. Adriaan Fokker. Theoretical Physics and Just Intonation Keyboards

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193
    2. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 195-205
    3. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 207-211
    4. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 213-217
    5. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 219-226
    6. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 227-234
    7. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 235-240
    8. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 251-252
    9. Erwin Hiebert
      Pages 253-260
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 261-269

About this book


This book explores the interactions between science and music in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century. It examines and evaluates the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, Max Planck, Shohé Tanaka, and Adriaan Fokker, leading physicists and physiologists who were committed to understanding crucial aesthetic components of the art of music, including the standardization of pitch and the implementation of various types of intonations. With a mixture of physics, physiology, and aesthetics, author Erwin Hiebert addresses throughout the book how just intonation came to intersect with the history of keyboard instruments and exert an influence on the development of Western music. He begins with the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, a leading nineteenth-century physicist and physiologist who not only made important contributions in vision, optics, electrodynamics, and thermodynamics, but also helped advanced the field of music theory as well. The author traces the Helmholtzian trends of thought that become inherently more complex by reaching beyond the sciences to perform a bridge with aesthetics and the diverse ways in which the human mind interprets or is taught, in different cultures, to interpret and understand music. Next, the author explores the works of other key physicists and physiologists who were influenced by Helmholtz and added to his legacy. He examines Japanese music theory student Shohé Tanaka, who sought to design a harmonium that was not based on equal temperament but rather on just intonation. Dutch physicist Adriaan Daniel Fokker, who arranged for organs to be built based on 31-tones per octave, orchestrated concerts for these new instruments, and even attempted to compose microtonal music, or music whose tonality is based on intervals smaller than the typical twelve semitones of Western music.


Adriaan Fokker Arithmetic Reflections in Music Confronting Contemporary Music Erwin Hiebert Evaluating the Enharmonium From Physiology to Energy Conservation Hermann von Helmholtz Johannes Müller Circle in Berlin Just Intonation and the 12-tone System Just Intonation and the Enharmonium Music Theorists in Japan Music with passion Physiological Acoustics Physiological Acoustics and Combination Tones Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music Physiological Causes of Harmony Shohé Tanaka Theoretical Physics and Just Intonation Keyboards

Authors and affiliations

  • Erwin Hiebert
    • 1
  1. 1.Silver SpringUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-06601-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-06602-8
  • Series Print ISSN 1385-0180
  • Series Online ISSN 2215-0064
  • Buy this book on publisher's site