(b Provo, UT, 11 Sept 1884; d Provo, 23 July 1981). American acoustician. He studied at Brigham Young University in Provo (BS 1907), then at the University of Chicago, where he gained his doctorate in 1911 for research into the charge of the electron. In 1916 he joined the staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York; he remained there for 33 years, becoming director of acoustical research in 1928 and of physical research in 1935. In 1949 Fletcher was appointed professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University, and in 1952 he returned to Brigham Young University as director of research. He became professor emeritus in 1974, and continued his research activity until his death. Fletcher was one of the great pioneers of the science of psychoacoustics, and his work on the human perception of sound was of fundamental importance. Responsible for the first public demonstration of stereophonic sound reproduction in 1934, he later worked intensively on theories of pitch perception and contributed to the understanding of the inharmonicity of piano strings. A co-founder of the Acoustical Society of America in 1929, he was made an honorary fellow of the society in 1949 and was awarded its Gold Medal in 1957.
‘The Physical Criterion for Determining the Pitch of a Musical Tone’, Physical Review, xxiii (1924), 427–37
Speech and Hearing (New York, 1929, rev. 2/1953 as Speech and Hearing in Communication)
‘A Space Time Pattern Theory of Hearing’, JASA, i (1930), 311–43
with W.A. Munson: ‘Loudness, its Definition, Measurement and Calculation’, JASA, v (1933), 82–108
‘Auditory Patterns’, Reviews of Modern Physics, xii (1940), 47–65
‘Normal Vibration Frequencies of a Stiff Piano String’, JASA, xxxvi (1964), 203–9
(b Leeds, 19 May 1941; d London, 6 Oct 1987). English tuba player. He studied natural sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and as a tuba player was largely self-taught, with occasional tuition from Clem Lawton in Leeds. He gained initial orchestral experience with the National Youth Orchestra before joining the BBC SO in 1964. From 1968 to 1987 he was a member of the LSO. His most significant work was with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, with which he toured worldwide and made many recordings. His virtuosity allowed him to set new standards for his instrument in both orchestral and chamber settings, and made him a source of great inspiration. His solo recordings include Vaughan Williams’s Concerto (with the LSO under Previn) and Edward Gregson’s Concerto for tuba and brass band, which was written for him. He remained a tutor for the National Youth Orchestra until his death; a trust fund in his memory was set up to help young players in the orchestra.
EDWARD H. TARR
Fletcher, Neville (Horner)
(b Armidale, NSW, 14 July 1930). Australian physicist and acoustician. He studied at Sydney University (BSc 1951) and Harvard (PhD 1956); after a period working in industry and with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Radiophysics Laboratory, he was appointed in 1963 to a chair in physics at the University of New England, NSW. In 1983 he became director of the CSIRO Institute of Physical Sciences and in 1988 visiting fellow at the Australian National University. He studied the flute with Victor McMahon in Sydney and James Pappoutsakis in Boston. Most notable in Fletcher’s extensively published research is his work with Suzanne Thwaites on sound generation in flutes and organ pipes, on flute performance techniques and on reed and lip-valve generators in woodwind and brass instruments. He also studied the vibration characteristics of gongs and cymbals, and with the composer Moya Henderson invented the alemba, a keyboard percussion instrument of tuned triangles. He is best known as co-author of the influential The Physics of Musical Instruments (1991). A fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1976) and a member of the Order of Australia (1990), in 1998 Fletcher was awarded the silver medal of the Acoustical Society of America.
‘Some Acoustical Principles of Flute Technique’, The Instrumentalist, xxviii/7 (1973–4), 57–61
Physics of Music (Melbourne, 1976R) [incl. cassette]
with T.D. Rossing: ‘Nonlinear Vibrations in Plates and Gongs’, JASA, lxxiii (1983), 345–51
with T.D. Rossing: The Physics of Musical Instruments (New York, 1991, 2/1998)
with T.D. Rossing: Principles of Vibration and Sound (New York, 1995)
MURRAY CAMPBELL, CLIVE GREATED
Fletcher, Percy (Eastman)
(b Derby, 12 Dec 1879; d Windsor, 10 Sept 1932). English composer, orchestrator and director of music. He trained as a violinist, pianist and organist, was in charge of the music successively at the Prince of Wales, Savoy, Daly's and Drury Lane theatres, and, for the last 17 years of his life, at His Majesty's Theatre. He conducted the record-breaking run of Norton's Chu Chin Chow (which he also mainly orchestrated). He also orchestrated the Hiawatha and Minnehaha suites from Coleridge-Taylor's posthumous music (1919 and 1925 respectively), as he did Woodforde-Finden's Indian Love Lyrics, A Lover in Damascus and The Pagoda of Flowers. His choral selections from Wagner's Die Meistersinger and Parsifal were once popular with choirs.
Fletcher's own musical output was vast. To succeed Chu Chin Chow in 1921 he wrote Cairo; its intermezzo is still played. Among his partsongs, Ring Out, Wild Bells shows his mastery of late Edwardian vocal styles, to which he added some unusual modulations of his own. The Passion of Christ (1922) displays the influence of Elgar. The tone poem Labour and Love (1913) and the Epic Symphony (1926) were commissioned for the Crystal Palace Brass Band Festivals. His instrumental suites, such as Rustic Revels (1918) or Sylvan Scenes (1921), suggest responses to Grieg and Coleridge-Taylor, while the solid craftsmanship and brilliance of his Festival Toccata (1915) for organ owe something to the French School. Fletcher is known today by the splendid waltz Bal masqué (1914).
Mecca (a mosaic in music and mime, 3, O. Asche), New York, Century, 4 Oct 1920 [perf. London, His Majesty's, 15 Oct 1921, under the new title Cairo]
The Good Old Days (romantic musical play, 3, Asche), London, New Gaiety, 27 Oct 1925
Orch: The Spirit of Pageantry, grand march (1911); Folk Tune and Fiddle Dance, str (1914); 2 Parisienne Sketches (1914): 1 Demoiselle chic, int, 2 Bal masqué, valse caprice; Prelude to an Unwritten Sym., 1914; Rustic Revels, suite (1918); Woodland Pictures, rural suite (1920): 1 Introduction and Dance: In the Hayfields, 2 Romance: An Old World Garden, 3 Humoreske: The Bean Feast; The Crown of Chivalry, march (1927); Ballade and Bergomask (1931); In the Olden Style, suite; Vanity Fair, ov.
Brass band: Labour and Love, tone poem (1913); Epic Sym. (1926)
Orch and arrs.: Chu Chin Chow (F. Norton) (1916); Hiawatha (S. Coleridge-Taylor), ballet suite (1919); Minnehaha (Coleridge-Taylor), suite (1925); Indian Love Lyrics, A Lover in Damascus, The Pagoda of Flowers (A. Woodforde-Finden)
Pf: Sylvan Scenes (1921): 1 In Beauty's Bower, 2 Sylvia Dances, 3 The Pool of Narcissus, 4 Cupid's Carnival; other pf works
Many arrs. of own inst works
Choral: The Walrus and the Carpenter (L. Carroll), children's cant (1910); The Passion of Christ (1922); Cupid's Garland, S, T, B, male chorus, orch (1931); many arrs., incl. selections from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (R. Wagner) and Parsifal (Wagner)
Many partsongs, incl. Ring Out, Wild Bells (A. Tennyson) (1914)
Songs: 4 Tennyson Lyrics (1926): 1 A Lullaby, 2 The City Child, 3 The Reign of Roses, 4 The Throstle; many other songs