(b Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 18 July 1635; d London, 3 March 1702). English physicist. He was educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he encountered leading natural philosophers associated with empirical learning, including Robert Boyle, whose assistant he became. In 1662 he became curator of experiments to the Royal Society, holding the post for 15 years. He was one of the six commissioners who supervised the rebuilding of London after the 1666 fire.
In his own day Hooke was most noted for his Micrographia (1665), concerned with his observations with the microscope; now he is most famous for having proclaimed a general law of elasticity. He is known in acoustics for having (unjustly) claimed to have proved that the vibrations of a simple spring are isochronous; for having shown the Royal Society in 1681 ‘a way of making Musical and Other Sounds, by the striking of the teeth of several Brass Wheels, proportionally cut as to their numbers, and turned very fast round; … the equal or proportional stroaks of the Teeth … made the musical notes, but the unequal stroaks … more answer'd the sound of the Voice’; and for having written in his diary in 1675 that he ‘would make all tunes [tones] by strokes of a hammer’.
See also Physics of music, §1.
The Posthumous Works of Robert Hooke, ed. R. Waller (London, 1705/R); ed. T.M. Brown (London, 1971)
The Life and Works of Robert Hooke, Early Science in Oxford, vi–viii, x, xiii, ed. R.T. Gunther (London, 1923–45)
The Diary of Robert Hooke, ed. H.W. Robinson and W. Adams (London, 1935/R)
Hooker, John Lee [Delta John; John Lee Booker; Jonny Lee]
(b Clarksdale, MS, 22 Aug 1917). American blues singer and guitarist. He worked in factories in Memphis and Cincinnati before moving to Detroit when he was in his 30s. His first recording, Boogie Chillen’ (1948, Modern), was an outstanding success and prepared the way for pieces with faster rhythms, such as Wobbling Baby (1953 Chart). With a deep, rich voice, he made effective use of vibrato in slow blues, of which Cold Chill all Over Me (1952, Modern) is a good example; Black Snake (1959, Riv.), in which he uses suspended rhythm, hummed choruses, whispered lines and an extended, free-verse structure, is typical of his style. Hooker was also an original composer of lyrics, and has sometimes reworked his themes in several very different versions (as for example with Wednesday Evening Blues, 1960, Riv.); often irregular and non-rhyming, his stanzas are held together by an insistent beat and hypnotic rhythm. Hooker has been prolifically recorded, though some of his later recordings are lacklustre. Birmingham Blues (1963, Vee Jay) is among his most impressive recordings, its fierce indignation unimpaired by the support of a full band. Better known than most African American blues singers (his mediocre Boom Boom was a hit in 1961), he has been a popular performer at blues concerts and festivals since 1960. In 1983 he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
P. Oliver: Conversation with the Blues (London, 1965)
J. O’Neal and A. O’Neal: ‘Interview: John Lee Hooker’, Living Blues, no.44 (1979), 14–22
J. Obrecht: ‘John Lee Hooker’, Guitar Player, xxiii/11 (1989), 50–60, 153 only
J. Woodard: ‘John Lee Hooker: Continuing Saga of the Boogie King’, Down Beat, lvii/2 (1990), 20–1
A diatonic harp fitted with a row of j-shaped hooks set in the neck to permit the player to raise the pitch of each string by a semitone simply by turning its hook which, in turn, touch or ‘stop’ the string at a specified point thereby shortening its vibrating length. This device was apparently developed in Austria in the second half of the 17th century. By the early 18th century a further refinement had been introduced, a mechanism to enable the player to operate the hooks by means of a foot pedal. Some later 17th- and 18th-century harps are supplied with hooks only for the F and C strings. Harps with manually operated chromatizing devices are in use today on small harps, normally with 21 to 38 strings, but the mechanism was changed from hooks to levers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For further information and illustration, see Harp, §V, 2(i), and fig.21.
SUE CAROLE DeVALE
Hook & Hastings.
American firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1827 by Elias Hook (b Salem, MA, 1805; d Boston, 15 June 1881) and George Greenleaf Hook (b Salem, MA, 1807; d Boston, 15 Sept 1880), both sons of William Hook, a cabinet maker, and former apprentices of w.m. Goodrich. In 1831 the Hook brothers moved from Salem to Boston, and in 1833 built their first three-manual organ for the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1845 they built what was considered the first concert organ in Boston, for Tremont Temple, and by the middle of the 19th century the firm of E. & G.G. Hook was acknowledged as the leading builder in New England. Their reputation during the following decades was solidly based on their outstanding reed and chorus voicing and the sound engineering of their actions. In 1855 Frank H. Hastings (b Weston, MA, 1836; d Kendal Green, MA, 23 Feb 1916) joined the Hook firm, soon becoming prominent in the design department. In 1871 he was made a full partner, and the name was changed to E. & G.G. Hook and Hastings. Hastings became president after the death of both founders, and in 1889 built a large new factory in Weston, Massachusetts. During the 1870s and 80s a series of ‘stock’ organs was introduced, and the success of these helped increase production to the point where by 1893 the firm, now known as Hook & Hastings, was producing more than one organ a week. As early as the 1860s the ‘Barker lever’ type of assisted action had been used in large organs, and by the turn of the century pneumatic and electro-pneumatic actions as well as tracker actions were being built. Competition from younger firms was keen, however, and a decline began even before the death of Hastings. He was succeeded by Arthur L. Coburn, the factory superintendent; Coburn died in 1931. As a result of the Depression, the firm went into liquidation in 1936. Hook & Hastings built many notable organs during the second half of the 19th century, including those for the Immaculate Conception Church and Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston (1863; 1875), Cincinnati Music Hall (1877) and St Francis Xavier Church, New York (1881).
W.J. Conner: ‘Pipe Scaling in Hook Organs, 1849–1895’, The Diapason, lxii/10 (1970–71), 18, 26–9
T. Murray: ‘The Hook & Hastings Organ in Holy Cross Cathedral Boston’, The Diapason, lxiii/11 (1971–2), 1, 4–6
B. Owen: ‘A Salem Chamber Organ’, Essex Institute Quarterly, cx/2, (1974), 111–19
O. Ochse: The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington, IN, 1975)
B. Owen: ‘Organs at the Centennial’, The Bicentennial Tracker, ed. A.F. Robinson (Wilmington, OH, 1976), 128–35
B. Owen: The Organ in New England (Raleigh, NC, 1979)
C. Clutton: ‘E. and G.G. Hook, Organ Builders of Boston’, The Organ, lxvi (1987), 167–79
W. van Pelt, ed.: The Hook Opus List, 1829–1935 (Richmond, VA, 1991)