Charles Wheatstone British

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

Invented in 1829 by the physicist Charles Wheatstone, the famous discoverer of the electric "Wheatstone bridge," the symphonium features two characteristics that he later used in his concertina: the same notes at pressure and suction, and alternative distribution of the diatonic tones to the right and left hand (C is for the right hand, D for the left, E for the right hand, etc.). The chromatic tones are the buttons of the outer row. The two groups of twelve buttons on each side produce a chromatic range from c1 to d3 (lacking d#1). The form of the instrument recalls a sheng without pipes.

Symphonium, Charles Wheatstone (1802–1875), nickel silver, ivory, brass, mother-of-pearl, British

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