Koenig Electric Fork

Massive tuning fork amplified, struck, and bowed....

The story

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. It’s 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.


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Nice Bell Sound: Add FX Though

    Not a bad bell sound. Not the best either. I suggest adding reverb, delay, maybe even distortion. Anything to add some character to the sound. Enjoy!

    dafingaz13 October 2021
  • Standard bell like sound

    Simple bell like sound created from a tuning fork. Interesting overtones at very low octave. Ok, but easy to find bell sounds exactly like this.

    Boag111 October 2021