The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.1.8

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.1.7 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 6.1.9 ›››

Gwilt translation

8That the tone of the voice is rendered deeper by the damp nature of a place, and higher by its being of a hot nature, may be proved by the following experiment. Let two vases be selected, both equally baked in a furnace, of equal weight, and yielding the same tone, and one of them be immersed in water and then taken out: let both of them be then struck, and a great difference will be perceived in the tones they yield, as well as an inequality in their weight. Thus it is with the human body; for although all men are born of the same form, and under the same heaven, yet some from the warmth of the climate are shrill in voice, and others from a superabundance of moisture have a low tone of voice.

Morgan translation

8That it is a fact that things are made heavier from being in places naturally moist, and higher pitched from places that are hot, may be proved from the following experiment. Take two cups which have been baked in the same oven for an equal time, which are of equal weight, and which give the same note when struck. Dip one of them into water and, after taking it out of water, strike them both. This done, there will be a great difference in their notes, and the cups can no longer be equal in weight. Thus it is with men: though born in the same general form and under the same all-embracing heaven, yet in some of them, on account of the heat in their country, the voice strikes the air on a high note, while in others, on account of abundance of moisture, the quality of tones produced is very heavy.