MATRIXSYNTH: 1905 HELMHOLTZ SOUND SYNTHESIZER BY MAX KOHL

Saturday, December 02, 2017

1905 HELMHOLTZ SOUND SYNTHESIZER BY MAX KOHL


Note the listing states this was the first electronic sound synthesizer, but that of course is subjective. There were others. You can find a list by year on 120 Years of Electronic Music.

via this auction

"LOT 61

THE FIRST ELECTRIC SOUND SYNTHESIZER

A Helmholtz Sound Synthesizer, manufactured in Chemnitz by Max Kohl after the design by Hermann von Helmholtz, ca 1905.

Estimate 25,000 - 35,000 USD

Wood, brass and steel sound synthesizer, signed " Max Kohl, Chemnitz, 1/8", 39½ x 29", mahogany base fitted with 11 steel tuning forks signed MK, each fork stamped with corresponding note and frequency in vs (vibrations per second, i.e. hertz). Forks 1-10 fixed between pairs of electromagnets and mounted vertically onto wooden platforms (numbered 1-10) along with brass Helmholtz resonators, each pair ranging in size according to their graduating frequencies, each platform with "Aus/Ein" [on/off] switch. 11th fork (marked UT 2 256 vs) mounted horizontally onto wooden platform with electromagnetic coil mounted between tines, adjustable mercury cup below lower tine; one end of board fitted with 2 anodes and 2 cathodes for connection to external 20 volt power sources; other end of board fitted with keyboard of 10 keys (8 ivory, and 2 non-mammalian replacements), each corresponding to 1 tuning fork/resonator pair (UT 2 256 vs; UT 3 512 vs; SOL 3 768 vs; UT 4 1024 vs; MI 4 1280 vs; SOL 4 1536 vs; 1792 vs; UT 5 2048 vs; RE 5 2304 vs; & MI 5 2560 vs). All 11 platforms connected together in series with wire filaments from the horizontal tuning fork."

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