Translator's Notice



In preparing a new edition of this translation of Professor Helmholtz's great work on the Sensations of Tone, which was originally made from the third German edition of 1870, and was finished in June 1875, my first care was to make it exactly conform to the fourth German edition of 1877 (the last which has appeared). The numerous alterations made in the fourth edition are specified in the Author's preface. In order that no merely verbal changes might escape me, every sentence of my translation was carefully re-read with the German. This has enabled me to correct several misprints and mistranslations which had escaped my previous very careful revision, and I have taken the opportunity of improving the language in many places. Scarcely a page has escaped such changes.

Professor Helmholtz ’s book having taken its place as a work which all candidates for musical degrees are expected to study, my next care was by supplementary notes or brief insertions, always carefully distinguished from the Author's by being inclosed in [], to explain any difficulties which the student might feel, and to shew him how to acquire an insight into the Author's theories, which were quite strange to musicians when they appeared in the first German edition of 1863, but in the twenty-two years which have since elapsed have been received as essentially valid by those competent to pass judgment.

For this purpose I have contrived the Harmonical, explained on 466-469, by which, as shewn in numerous footnotes, almost every point of theory can be illustrated; and I have arranged for its being readily procurable at a moderate charge. It need scarcely be said that my interest in this instrument is purely scientific.

My own Appendix has been entirely re-written, much has been rejected and the rest condensed, but, as may be seen in the Contents, I have added a considerable amount of information about points hitherto little known, such as the Determination and History of Musical Pitch, Non-Harmonic scales, Tuning, &c., and in especial I have given an account of the work recently done on Beats and Combinational Tones, and on Vowel Analysis and Synthesis, mostly since the fourth German edition appeared.

Finally, I wish gratefully to acknowledge the assistance, sometimes very great, which I have received from Messrs. D. J. Blaikley, R. H. M. Bosanquet, Colin Brown, A. Cavaillé-Coll, A. J. Hipkins, W. Huggins, F.R.S., Shuji Isawa, H. Ward Poole, R. S. Rockstro, Hermann Smith, Steinway, Augustus Stroh, and James Paul White, as will be seen by referring to their names in the Index.

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