© 2015

Treatise on Acoustics

The First Comprehensive English Translation of E.F.F. Chladni's Traité d’Acoustique


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxi
  2. E. F. F. Chladni
    Pages 1-2
  3. Numerical Ratios of Vibrations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 3-3
    2. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 5-18
    3. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 19-25
  4. Characteristic Vibrations of Sounding Bodies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 27-27
    2. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 29-32
    3. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 33-39
    4. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 41-42
    5. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 69-71
    6. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 73-122
    7. E. F. F. Chladni
      Pages 123-126
  5. On Transmitted Vibrations, or the Propagation of Sound

  6. On the Sensation of Sound: On the Hearing of Men and Animals

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 171-171

About this book


This is the first comprehensive translation of the expanded French version of E.F.F. Chladni’s Traité d’Acoustique, using Chladni's 1802 Die Akustik for reference and clarification.  Chladni’s experiments and observations with sound and vibrations profoundly influenced the development of the field of Acoustics.  The famous Chladni diagrams along with other observations are contained in Die Akustik, published in German in 1802 and Traité d’Acoustique, a greatly expanded version, published in French in 1809.  The present translation was undertaken by Robert T. Beyer, PhD (1920-2008), noted acoustician, Professor of Physics at Brown University, and Gold Medal recipient of the Acoustical Society of America. Along with many other projects completed over the course of his career, Dr. Beyer translated Von Neumann’s seminal work, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics from the original German, spent 30 years translating Russian physics treatises and journals, served as editor of the English translation of the Soviet Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics, and also authored Sounds of our Times: Two Hundred Years of Acoustics.

  • Represents the first comprehensive English translation of a seminal work in acoustics
  • Translated by a prominent acoustician, and former Gold Medal recipient of the Acoustical Society of America
  • In addition to the classic experiments with glass plates and violin bows, covers topics in music, architecture, and anatomy of human and animal hearing
  • Appeals to a wide audience in physics, acoustics, and history of science


Acoustics of Bells Auditory organs in animals Beyer Chladni Translation Chladni Acoustics Chladni Diagrams Chladni Traité d’Acoustique Chladni Treatise on Acoustics History of Acoustics History of Acoustics Chladni Human Hearing Musical Acoustics Musical Acoustics Strings Numerical Ratios of Vibrations Sound Propagation Sound Propagation Air Sound Propagation Liquids Sound Propagation Solids Vibration and Sound Vibrations of Plates Wind Instrument Acoustics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.WittenbergGermany

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“The book gives a good and detailed insight into the times of pre-numerical acoustics around 1800. Robert T. Beyer's book can be recommended to those willing to study in detail what the thoughts of a leading experimental physicist were—despite that they were all called ‘philosophers at that time.” (Heinrich Metzen, Noise Control Engineering Journal, Vol. 64 (5), September-October, 2016)