ON THE INFLUENCE OF MUSICAL SOUNDS ON THE FLAME OF A JET OF COAL-GAS
by John LeConte, M.D.
A short time after reading Professor John Tyndall’s excellent article On the Sounds Produced by the Combustion of Gases in Tubes, I happened to be one of a party of eight persons assembled after tea for the purpose of enjoying a private musical entertainment. Three instruments were employed in the performance of several of the grand trios of Beethoven, namely, the piano, violin and violoncello. Two “fish-tail” gas burners projected from the brick wall near the piano. Both of them burned with remarkable steadiness, the windows being closed and the air of the room being very calm. Nevertheless, it was evident that one of them was under a pressure nearly sufficient to make it flare.
Soon after the music commenced, I observed that the flame of the last-mentioned burner exhibited pulsations in height which were exactly synchronous with the audible beats. This phenomenon especially striking when the strong notes of the violoncello came in. It was exceedingly interesting to observe how perfectly even the trills of this instrument were reflected on the sheet of flame. A deaf man might have seen the harmony.