Pre-Edison sound sample

Music Science
Pre-Edison sound sample

Earliest Sound Recording

Édouard-Léon Scott’s phonautograph recorded sound visually and apparently did so almost 20 years before Thomas Edison’s famous audio work –

For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words “Mary had a little lamb” on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison’s invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.

The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.

Read more and listen to the sample in the NY Times article – Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison [via]

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2 thoughts on “Pre-Edison sound sample

  1. Beanolini says:

    This was played on BBC Radio 4 the other day, and caused the newsreader to laugh uncontrollably while reading an obituary:

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