Musical transposition calculator in circular slide-rule form

Made:
1840-1880 in United Kingdom
maker:
Unknown

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Musical transposition calculator in circular slide-rule format, plus key, in velvet-lined fishskin case, unsigned, United Kingdom, 1840-1880

The first is by J Wilson and is dated 1820. The second is not signed and dates from the mid 19th century. Because all the notes in a scale have a fixed frequency ratio, music can be ‘transposed’ up or down the various keys. These little devices are like circular adding machines; moving the tonic, or fundamental note, a certain number of tones up or down moves all the notes in the scale by the same interval, so music can be rewritten in a different key. The second calculator has the tonic at the top and reveals the notes in the appropriate major scale.

Details

Category:
Mathematics
Object Number:
1988-506
Materials:
balsa (wood), brass (copper, zinc alloy), fish skin, leather, pine (wood) and velvet
Measurements:
overall (closed): 15 mm x 60 mm x 73 mm, 60 mm, .081kg
type:
slide rule
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • calculator
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • calculator
credit:
Trevor Philip and Sons Ltd.

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.