Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§ 12. Determinations of the Lowest Audible Tone 27 
Latour had referred the low tone heard in Savart’s experiments 
to the shocks of the rotating rod. See Preyer, 4. 
(7) Helmholtz (Sens, of Tone, 176) used a thin brass piano 
wire, weighted with a copper coin, stretched over a sounding box. 
The string was chosen because it had only high harmonic over¬ 
tones, which could not be confused with the fundamental. The 
contra-D gave “ a very weak sensation of tone, and even this 
was rather jarring”; at the subcontra-P 2 “there was scarcely 
anything audible left.” Helmholtz’ statements concerning the 
vibration-rates of his string vary somewhat : see Preyer, Akust. 
Unt., 9 f. ; Schaefer, Z., xxi., 1899, 161. 
Subsequently (1870) Helmholtz obtained two Koenig forks, 
giving the tones from 24 to 35, and from 35 to 61, respectively. 
“ For 30 vs. I could still hear a weak drone; for 28 scarcely a 
In his Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects, Helmholtz re¬ 
marks that the contra-C of 33 is “ very nearly the limit of audi¬ 
bility,” and that for the subcontra-C of 16y2 “ the ear can scarcely 
separate the tone from an obscure drone.” The lower limit is 
finally set at “ about 20.” See Populäre wiss. Vorträge, 1865, 
Heft, i., 64; 1876, i., 64; Pop. Lect. on Sei. Subj., New York, 
1885, [First series] 64, 69; new edn., London, 1884, ist. ser., 
56, 61. The lecture was first printed in 1857. 
(8) O. Wolf, Sprache und Ohr, 1871, 245. “ Bei grosser 
Anstrengung und Aufmerksamkeit konnte ich noch [einen Ton] 
von 28 Schw. unterscheiden.” The observation was made in 
Helmholtz’ company, with the forks mentioned under (7). 
Wolf also describes an Appunn ‘ lower limit apparatus,’ consist¬ 
ing of 4 reed pipes : the lowest reed, with variable weight, made 
4 vs., the second 8 vs., the third 16, the fourth 32 in the 1 sec. 
(op. cit., 245 fif.). The third reed gave an overtone of 32 vs., 
and ‘ einzelne Luftstösse.’ The fourth gave a clear fundamental. 
Why there were no reeds between 16 and 32—in the critical 
region—Wolf does not explain. The contra-C of 33 is heard as 
continuous tone from a 16-ft. stopped labial pipe. 
(9) Preyer used an Appunn ‘ fundamental tone apparatus,’ a 
series of loaded harmonium reeds, giving the vibration-rates 8, 
9, 10, . . . 32, 34, 36, 38, 40. The fundamental was heard as the


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