Earliest recorded music


24 Responses to “Earliest recorded music”

  1. That, or an early cement mixer.

  2. spocko says:

    Wow! That is wild! Wasn’t their a book that had someone “translating” the sound of singing off of a pot on a wheel from centuries ago? Like a stick was being used to draw a line on the pot while it was spinning? Anyone remember what I’m talking about?

  3. noggin says:

    There is an excellent video series, “Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs”, 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgQptKXzcTY, where one episode looks at how recordings changed the music industry in ways that may not be so obvious to us now, such as the effect on composers and artists but also the rediscovery of musical treasures long forgotten.  (As record companies quickly saturated the markets with contemporary music and the few, long-accepted classical standards, they had to start digging to find great music to record; Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, for instance.)

  4. For more background on this, check out paleosound guy Patrick Feaster, who has a good case for recovering sound from written form going back 1,000 years. You’ll have seen his name associated with a number of early acoustic recovery projects.

  5. Interesting post, thanks!  There’s another great book on this subject called The Recording Angel.  It’s by Evan Eisenberg.  http://www.amazon.com/Recording-Angel-Records-Culture-Aristotle/dp/0300099045

  6. MadSquabbles says:

     there’s one less piece of history to listen to:

  7. alex vernon says:

    That was pretty good, but I like his earlier stuff more.

  8. avraamov says:

    I’ve long had a fascination with this subject – although i’m always suspicious of ‘firstness’ claims for a number of reasons. however i’m going to play the contrarian here and mention that according to an unpublished manuscript i have, Arthur Morin first recorded sound around 1840 by directing reflected light onto a moving daguerreotype from a small mirror attached to a rubber membrane. This method has been used plenty of times since then (for example with the manometric flame apparatus 


    so it seems entirely feasible to me that he could have managed it…

  9. arcfinn says:

     Haha, believe it or not I once had the same epiphany that Marconi did, though I was about 9 at the time and pretty much forgot about it until now. 

  10. phisrow says:

    Hopefully, for Marconi’s sake, he didn’t last long enough to be informed that the various teeny-scale stochastic noise behind Brownian motion and the like squelches sound beyond even theoretical hope of recovery pretty quickly…

  11. Teller says:

    xlnt post and re-post. Gives me chills to hear a 150-yo recording because of 4-yo technology (or use of it for this purpose.)

  12. I missing something. How could a “recording device” not have been intended to play things back?

    • Robert Holmen says:

      It was intended to convert the sound into visible markings.  Markings to be examined visually only with no expectation that the would be used to recreate the sound.

  13. CountZero says:

    I bought Greg’s book last year and read it on holiday. Brilliant, fascinating book, and it ties in with the Dynamic Range Day movement and the whole ‘Loudness Wars’ thing. I love this whole subject; my earliest memories centre around songs I heard on the radio, ‘Freight Train’, by Nancy Whiskey being one, and the other was ‘Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler)’, by The Playmates
    Music has been a major part of my life since, that’s around fifty two or three years. I just wish I could create it…

  14. jhhl says:

    Laurie Anderson used the idea of “never dying sound” as part of her “United States” performance.  And in terms of ancient music, there’s also this fake entry, from my “Top 10 imaginary audio events of 2007″ list:
    Black Figure Audio Vol. 1: Amphorae (Ancient Audio, 2007)We generally date audio recording to 1877 and Edison’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, but recent examinations of the peturbations of wavy spirals on ancient Greek black figure pottery suggested an audio wave form to Prof. Xenophon Auros, who made a precision scan of the Heraklion collection and turned them into audio. Ancient Greek voices actually popped out, mostly ordering new pots and complaining of the heat. Auros theorizes that the lines were scribed by a quill dipped in ink on a lathe, and while the lathe was turning, the feathered end of the quill caught the ambient air movements. He continues his investigations of Kraters in Vol. 2.

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