The first attempt to define, even relatively, the pitch of respiratory sounds was made by the late Austin Flint in a prize essay published in 1852. The opening sentences of that essay are as follows:
Very little attention has hitherto been paid to variations in pitch of sounds heard in the practice of percussion and pulmonary auscultation. By most writers on physical exploration pitch modifications, except in rôles, are not recognized, no allusion whatever being made to them.
Flint makes essentially no attempt to explain the production of respiratory sounds, or to offer physical evidence in support of his purely dogmatic affirmations. His statements as to the pitch of normal and pathic respiratory sounds, quoting verbatim, are these:
On placing the stethoscope over the trachea the respiratory sound is found to be notably high in pitch. The relative altitude of pitch is immediately perceived on comparing the
QUIMBY CE. SOME POINTS IN THE ACOUSTICS OF RESPIRATION. JAMA. 1904;XLIII(14):937–941. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92500140001c
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