Differential Sonometer

Differential Sonometer

Usage conditions apply
A sonometer demonstrates the relationship between the frequency of the sound produced by a plucked string, and the tension, length and mass per unit length of the string. This 8-string example came from the Smithsonian Institution Instrument Room, and was undoubtedly made by Rudolph Koenig in Paris. Koenig termed it a great sonometer according to M. Barbereau, referring to the French musician, Mathurin August Balthazar Barbereau (1799-1879).
Ref: Rudolph Koenig, Catalogue des Appareils d’Acoustique (Paris, 1865), p. 25.
David Pantalony, Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris (2009).
Currently not on view
Object Name
sonometer, Barberau
date made
Rudolph Koenig
overall: 23 cm x 133 cm x 57 cm; 9 1/16 in x 52 3/8 in x 22 7/16 in
overall: 9 1/2 in x 51 in x 22 1/2 in; 24.13 cm x 129.54 cm x 57.15 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object