• FA-109590 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
Musical Instruments
Musical Instruments
1990 - 1999


The trautonium was developed by the German electrical engineer Friedrich Trautwein in 1930. After World War II, it was further developed by Oskar Sala to become the Mixtur-trautonium.

The trautonium contains an electronic oscillator to generate vibrations. Its frequency can be adjusted using a resistance wire. The instrument aroused great curiosity from the start, including from the composer Paul Hindemith. One of his students, Oskar Sala, was so fascinated by the potential of the instrument that he spent the rest of his life working on its development.

The pinnacle of the development work was the Mixtur-trautonium. Following the sequence of overtones of conventional instruments, it is used to generate "undertones" by splitting the frequency of a master generator. The "Mixturen" (mixtures) were produced through various combinations of tones from this subharmonic sequence. Additional opportunities were provided by a noise generator for generating noises, a device for reverberation effects and electrical interrupters for rhythmic effects. Even today, the sound mixtures associated with the additional effects are still unique. The instrument was also used for sound recordings and sound effects in films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". Oskar Sala released several records and composed the music for numerous documentary films on the Mixtur-trautonium.

The replica Mixtur-trautonium exhibited in the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) corresponds to the instrument constructed by Oskar Sala in 1952. Today, the original is located in the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) in Bonn.

Manufacturer: Burkart Hauck und Doepfer Musikelektronik
Place of manufacture: Hassfurth and Gräfelfing (Germany)
Date of construction: 1999

Numerous clips are available under "Oskar Sala", "trautonium", "Mixtur-trautonium" on: http://www.youtube.com 

Inv.Nr. 50634
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