November 11, 1916
Page 48

Los Angeles Symphony Director Using Instrument Contrived by Chicago Inventor—”Tonometer Sets 438 as Vibration Standard and Indicates Precise Intonation

LOS ANGELES, CAL., Nov. 6.—Adolf Tandler, conductor of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, adopted a unique means of assuring accurate tuning of instruments in his orchestra. He has found the primary difficulty of “playing in tune” to be in the·fact that the instruments are not tuned exactly together. They may vary only a few vibrations per second, but that is enough to displease the sensitive ear. Some time ago Mr. Tandler was in consultation with J. C. Deagan of Chicago, the inventor and manufacturer of instruments, a man who has travelled extensively in foreign countries to secure examples of rare instruments.
Mr. Deagan suggested the construction of an instrument which would exemplify minute differences in pitch, and recently Mr. Tandler received a device built on this plan. It is on the Glockenspiel order, consisting of six accurately tuned bars, with a sound reinforcement and struck by a padded hammer. These bars are tuned in the following order: 435 vibrations, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440. Though the 435 is the so-called “international” pitch, no orchestra uses it, owing to the fact that the European instrument makers do not confine themselves to that pitch.
Standard Vibrations
Mr. Tandler has adopted 438 as his standard. Striking any two of the bars simultaneously presents the “beat” prominently to the ear, and a pendulum is attached to the instrument which gives the time in seconds. By counting the number of beats to the second, the divergence from the lower of the two pitches is established.
Striking the two bars on the instrument is the method of illustrating to the player the difference in pitch. It then devolves upon him to correct his error by rectifying his ear. When a man tunes to 440 and thinks it is 438, this instrument serves to show him the discrepancy. Mr. Tandler has suggested to Mr. Deagan the name “tonometer” for the instrument, which may come into use wherever it is essential to demonstrate either discrepancy or accuracy of pitch. Mr. Tandler introduced the instrument at his first orchestra rehearsal for this season’s concert and finds it of much service. —W. F. G.


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