Koenig Electric Fork

tuning fork text.jpg


SFZ: bit.ly/2I33cH7


Peter Black



I saved this massive tuning fork from going in the skip. It was made by Rudolph Koenig sometime around 1870 and tuned to Ut2 (marked 256Hz but uses an old French tuning system of measuring half cycles so is actually 128Hz thus meaning it is tuned to a scale using 430Hz as middle A) It is about 2 feet high on its resonator and its tines are a good foot long in themselves. It produces, as one would expect, a beautiful pure tone with a sustain in the order of minutes. Its one of those interesting objects that one cannot let get destroyed but fundamentally has limited use. This has been my first attempt to do something with it.

I sampled it being struck with a Columbia Research Labs 606-3-I accelerometer going into a Kistler 5007 charge amplifier attached to one of the tines. I used a felt (small wool ball on a small steel rod) and steel (just the rod) beater to get 2 different tones. The result is a very electric piano-esk sound when mapped across a keyboard.

I also used a violin bow across the top of one of the tines and recorded the sound with a number of different microphones which creates a much more eerie sound.
Both of these sounds can be mixed together to get a variety of effects.
There is no noise reduction, just the samples re-pitched to work with A=440 tuning.