Sound & Science: Digital Histories

SSDH is an ongoing digitization project devoted to the history of acoustics, based on work by members of the research group "Epistemes of Modern Acoustics" at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. The digital archive provides access to and context for unique sources in the history of acoustics, such as texts, images, sound, film, and historical reenactments, along with entries on the people, places, instruments, and technologies that have shaped this history. 

The database is a multimedia resource for historians of science, culture, and technology, along with students and other researchers. It aims to explore the relationship between historical innovations in the study of sound and the scientific, artistic, religious, and political practices that make up their context. How did acoustic knowledge travel between a science of sound and the practice of musicians, engineers, or everyday listeners? How is that knowledge itself a product of sonic strategies, from skilled listening and musical composition to advanced audio engineering? 

Find out how to navigate the database here.



This database is an initiative of the Max Planck Research Group "Epistemes of Modern Acoustics":

Viktoria Tkazcyk profile picture
Viktoria Tkaczyk 
Research Group Leader
Dr., Professor for the History of Knowledge, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Joeri Bruyninckx profile picture
Joeri Bruyninckx
Assistant Professor
Technology & Society Studies, Maastricht University
Fanny Gribenski profile picture
Fanny Gribenski
Research Scholar
Xiaochang Li profile picture
Xiaochang Li
Postdoctoral Fellow
Kate Sturge profile picture
Kate Sturge
Editorial Assistant

Technical implementation was supported by Robert Casties and Florian Kräutli from the Research IT Group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. 

Special thanks to the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics student assistants: Eric Caselles, Hannah Eßler, Jonathan Haid, Yaroslav Koshelev, Lotte Schüßler, Alina Topf, and Fabian Voigtschild. 


To source, digitize, and contextualize rare material, the database team works with international partners including the "Epistemic Dissonances. Objects and Tools of Early Modern Acoustics" project, SFB 980 at Freie Universität Berlin, The Leibniz Research Group "Materiality of Musical Instruments: New Approaches to a Cultural History of Organology" at Deutsches Museum Munich, and the research programme Maastricht University - Science, Technology and Society Studies (MUSTS). 

Logo for "Epistemes in Motion"

Logo for the Deutsche Museum    

Logo for Maastricht University - Science, Technology, and Society Studies


We greatly welcome contributions from scholars and practitioners in the history of acoustics. Please get in touch here.


Rights and permissions

For an overview of our copyright policy, please see here


The Max Planck Gesellschaft and the Max Planck Institute for History of Science has prepared the content of this website responsibly and carefully, but disclaims all warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information contained in any of the materials on this website or on other linked websites or on any subsequent links. The MPG shall not be liable for any losses or damages whatsoever from the use of, or reliance on, the information in its website. Any links to other websites do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the MPG. 




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