Eagle Ron Lebar, music technology

Starburst Music Technology Starburst

Strings &
Formulae &
Sine waves &
DeciBels &
Music &
Theory vs.
Lecher Line

Preface, Thoughts of Ron

Music is one of the most important subjects that can be taught in schools, preceded only by literacy and numeracy ('Music soothes the savage breast'). Our Labour government stands alone in having acknowledged this, more to the point they have put some of our money where their mouth is.

The funding provided is very welcome after years in which music has been the first subject to suffer cuts by struggling schools. Hopefully more will follow, 'ringfencing' of the money, for new capital purchases only, is ecologically unsound however.

It is important that schools teach more than just scales and the practice of singing or playing instruments. Music technology is an important part of music, not necessarily a separate subject in its own right.

Many people, including some musicians, say that technology inhibits the immediacy of music, getting in the way of the creative process. This shows a misunderstanding of the subject.

Music began when early humans, possibly drawing inspiration from bird calls, found that controlling the voice into a series of discrete pitches was pleasing to the ear.

Technology got into the act when people discovered the manipulation of inanimate objects, by striking, blowing or scraping etc. could produce musical tones. As soon as man modified such objects to better fit his purpose music technology was born.

Our most famous composers and virtuoso musicians over the centuries have known that an understanding of how instruments work is important in getting the best from them. Whether an instrument uses carved wood & strings or digital algorithms, having at least a basic knowledge will improve creativity. Not knowing how to translate an imagined sound into reality can be frustrating.

Author; Ron Lebar.


The following section refers to a subject not needed for success in basic electrical or electronic engineering. It is essential if a true understanding of the processes involved is desired.

Such understanding will not help with exams, curricula are set by old-worlders.

A Form of Words

Much of the technical information on this site is written in the language of classical electrical theory. Formulae & equations etc. are those in common usage. These are correct, accurate & have stood the test of time. Their use can solve problems & enable design projects.

Some 19th century scientists & a small number in the 20th century realised that many basic assumptions are wrong. 20th century mainstream physics became fossilized, particularly after the Second World War. The spirit of enquiry which got it all going has been replaced by complacency.

The word 'theory' has been largely replaced by 'description', in other words there is nothing left to learn. Any attempt to correct the record, or introduce new theory is actively resisted. Early & later dissenters have effectively been written out of the records. (e.g. Heaviside, Tesla, Fleming, Ivor Catt etc.)

It is now mostly a cosy way of earning a good living. In many ways there is a correlation with the 16th century campaign to halt science. This was conducted by the church, to protect their power & influence. Now it is physicists who, as a body, resist new ideas. These are seen as likely to show old ideas as mistaken, damaging reputations & endangering the huge funds currently being spent.

On various pages we refer to current flow, capacitors being charged etc. This is basically a convenient form of words, based on habits now spanning four centuries. It does not mean we accede to the dualist or particle theories. Nor do we accept quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle & all their ramifications. The Theory V Reality page will develop to cover this.

Until we get our house in order, a new form of language, in keeping with reality, will not fully evolve. The nearest was Oliver Heaviside's use of 'energy current', James Fleming also touched on the subject. For the present, we are stuck with the archaic way of describing things.

Some branches of physics are genuinely in the business of moving forward. Some progress has been made, it is heavy going while incorrect concepts are taken as gospel. Radical new theories should not be suppressed, they should be afforded the full glare of publicity & open debate. If they are obviously wrong they will be shot down or simply wither away.

A good theory should fit the observed facts without paradoxes. It should be capable of future modification, if new discoveries demand it. If such necessary modification negates the original concept the theory should probably bow out gracefully. We must always accept the possibility of being wrong, a theory's age or pedigree is no guarantee of infallibility.

An obvious & old example is displacement current. This caused a paradox even in the eyes of James Maxwell, its proposer. It requires the polarised displacement of molecules in a capacitor's dielectric. Yet a capacitor works with a vacuum between its plates. He then proposed the Aether, an indetectible substance pervading all space.

We are now pretty sure this does not exist, yet it is still required for Maxwell's equations to work. These equations are a mainstay of current electromagnetic theory. We must therefore accept the improbable aether or look for an alternative theory explaining a capacitor's function.

One of many quotes attibuted to Filipo Bruno, my nomination as the patron saint of science & truth. Burnt at the stake by the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century, for refusing to recant the truth. The wording, from Latin, is modernised by me, but is fundamentally original:

"I make no personal claim to the truth, only the right to seek it, prove it in argument, and to be wrong many times in order to reach it."

Science has, over the last century, divided into more & narrower specialisations. One such branch, physics, has sub-divided into further specialisations. On the other hand, some workers generalise, becoming multi-disciplinary, or 'jack of all trades'.

Specialising means learning more and more about less & less.
Until ultimately everything is known about nothing.

Multi-disciplinary or generalising means learning less and less about more & more.
Until nothing is known about everything.


The T.W. Hammonds
tab links to the Tone Wheel Hammond Organ page. A series will develop on Major Classics, probably also some minor ones.

Included will be guides to routine maintenance, building on the listings in the Classic Instruments section. Some dos & don'ts together with tips etc. Plus sections on emergency repairs. Not just classics, a small amount of modern gear may achieve that status if looked after & maintained.

Our Music Industry connection goes back to the mid '60s & we became independent in 1968.

We work with The Hammond Hire Company, providing a U.K. wide comprehensive service across the full range of amplified, electrical and electronic musical instruments or equipment.
Our prime directive is the pursuit & maintenance of excellence in music technology.

Courtesy, Care & Value come as standard.

E-Mail: info@alphaentek.com For Design Work.

All Brand & Model names are Trademarks and/or Copyright of their respective owners.



Post Script

A statistic quoted by someone writing about the irrelevance to potential pupils of much music taught in schools. Six percent take up music courses offered.

Back in the early '60s the only keyboard instruments available for general sale were acoustic pianos, electric & electronic organs. The question was asked of the industry. 'Why are almost no organs built for professional use?'

The answer given was that professionals were only one percent of the market. Multiplying those figures means that one percent of six percent of people are professional musicians. That is six people in every ten thousand.

The experience of professionals, as I see it, is that there is a one percent chance of making a living from music, the rest do it out of working hours. That leaves six in one million. Probably no more than one percent of those will make a fortune.

That makes six in a hundred million. There are about six thousand million people on Earth, fifty million in Britain. Three hundred and sixty will become wealthy from music, only three in this country.



Information given is generally brief & is based on our experience. If you spot any factual mistakes or 'typos' please feel free to let us know. We are not perfect & won't sulk over constructive criticism.

All Brand & Model names are Trademarks and/or Copyright of their respective owners.

Regards & thanks for reaching our Site, a developing project.
Watch this space.

Courtesy, Excellence & Value.
The standard others are judged by.

E-Mail: info@alphaentek.com

Technology. Updated on the 14th of May 2005. Ron Lebar, Author.