Monday, March 31, 2008
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 audio historian David Giovannoni with a recently discovered phonautogram that is among the earliest sound recordings.
Audio: 1860 recording:
The Phonautograph Recording from 1860 of 'Au Clair de la Lune' (mp3)
An Audio Excerpt from a 1931 Recording of the Same Song (mp3)
The 19th-century phonautograph, which captured sounds visually but did not play them back, has yielded a discovery with help from modern technology.
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.
“This is a historic find, the earliest known recording of sound,” said Samuel Brylawski, the former head of the recorded-sound division of the Library of Congress, who is not affiliated with the research group but who was familiar with its findings. The audio excavation could give a new primacy to the phonautograph, once considered a curio, and its inventor, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, a Parisian typesetter and tinkerer who went to his grave convinced that credit for his breakthroughs had been improperly bestowed on Edison.
Scott’s device had a barrel-shaped horn attached to a stylus, which etched sound waves onto sheets of paper blackened by smoke from an oil lamp. The recordings were not intended for listening; the idea of audio playback had not been conceived. Rather, Scott sought to create a paper record of human speech that could later be deciphered.
But the Lawrence Berkeley scientists used optical imaging and a “virtual stylus” on high-resolution scans of the phonautogram, deploying modern technology to extract sound from patterns inscribed on the soot-blackened paper almost a century and a half ago. The scientists belong to an informal collaborative called First Sounds that also includes audio historians and sound engineers.
David Giovannoni, an American audio historian who led the research effort, will present the findings and play the recording in public on Friday at the annual conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
Scott’s 1860 phonautogram was made 17 years before Edison received a patent for the phonograph and 28 years before an Edison associate captured a snippet of a Handel oratorio on a wax cylinder, a recording that until now was widely regarded by experts as the oldest that could be played back.
Mr. Giovannoni’s presentation on Friday will showcase additional Scott phonautograms discovered in Paris, including recordings made in 1853 and 1854. Those first experiments included attempts to capture the sounds of a human voice and a guitar, but Scott’s machine was at that time imperfectly calibrated.
“We got the early phonautograms to squawk, that’s about it,” Mr. Giovannoni said.
But the April 1860 phonautogram is more than a squawk. On a digital copy of the recording provided to The New York Times, the anonymous vocalist, probably female, can be heard against a hissing, crackling background din. The voice, muffled but audible, sings, “Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit” in a lilting 11-note melody — a ghostly tune, drifting out of the sonic murk.
The hunt for this audio holy grail was begun in the fall by Mr. Giovannoni and three associates: Patrick Feaster, an expert in the history of the phonograph who teaches at Indiana University, and Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey, owners of Archeophone Records, a label specializing in early sound recordings. They had collaborated on the Archeophone album “Actionable Offenses,” a collection of obscene 19th-century records that received two Grammy nominations. When Mr. Giovannoni raised the possibility of compiling an anthology of the world’s oldest recorded sounds, Mr. Feaster suggested they go digging for Scott’s phonautograms.
Historians have long been aware of Scott’s work. But the American researchers believe they are the first to make a concerted search for Scott’s phonautograms or attempt to play them back.
In December Mr. Giovannoni and a research assistant traveled to a patent office in Paris, the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle. There he found recordings from 1857 and 1859 that were included by Scott in his phonautograph patent application. Mr. Giovannoni said that he worked with the archive staff there to make high-resolution, preservation-grade digital scans of these recordings.
EUROPE'S FINEST TOPLESS HONEYS
Wow Paulina still very perky at 44 ! Read about Paulas interesting childhood escaping the iron curtain THE NILES LESH PROJECT - ALL...
Ava Fiore is a Playboy model and 2002 Golden Gloves champion boxer. She was arrested on Wednesday night on I 80 east in Kimball, Nebraska. P...
"Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any po...
OSBORN COX? - NOW THAT IS A GREAT NAME !!!
SHE IS A POTENTIAL F D I L F !!! Meghan McCain is a 23-year-old, socially liberal John Kerry voter who loves Superbad, Dita von Teese, Bud L...
Larry Flynt, the wheelchair bound self-proclaimed "smut peddler" and "1st Amendment Crusader" has published photos of Na...
Missed it ? - The Archives !
- ► 2010 (80)
- ► 2009 (319)
- BOB HOPE - ARE ZOMBIES LIKE REPUBLICANS ?
- AL QAEDA DEBUNKS 911 CONSPIRACY THEORIES
- TOP 5 FHM 2008 CALENDER GIRLS !
- BUSH HEARS THE FIRST AMENDMENT EXERCISED !
- KEITH RICHARDS LIKES TO GET HIGH ???
- KEVIN SPACEY DOES IMPRESSIONS ! ! !
- WORLDS OLDEST RECORDING - APRIL 10TH 1860 !
- OOOOHHHH, YYYYEAHHH ! ! !
- SARAH LARSON - WILD & CRAZY DAYS ???
- DAKOTA JOHNSON - CELEBRITY OFFSPRING
- HILARY CLINTON - CALL OF DUTY ???
- MO ROCCA - THE SPRING BREAK VOTERS !
- PARIS HILTON - BELLY DANCES ON TURKISH TV
- SIMONA FUSCO - BIKINI ISSUES ???
- WHAT IS THE TITS BUILDING ???
- RON BURGANDY INTERVIEWS JESUS ???
- YouTube Yobs - chase top video off the charts ???...
- CRUZ SISTERS - PENELOPE & MONICA
- ELIZABETH HURLEY - STILL GOT IT ?
- KELLY BROOK - NUTS MAGAZINE
- SUPER SIZED (235LB) BALLERINAS ???
- ANNA KORNIKOVA - ERICSSON OPEN
- STRANGE VIRAL VIDEO HILARY CLINTON SPOOF ?
- HO NO !!! NOT AGAIN ???
- ADRIANA LIMA - NUDE IN APRIL GQ !
- BOYS - BEWARE OF FRIENDLY STRANGERS !
- DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB ! ! !
- VINTAGE NEW YORK SKYSCAPER FUN ! ! !
- FINALLY - AN ELECTRIC CIGARETTE ???
- MARILYN MONROE - FIRST SCREEN APPEARANCE (1949)
- ALEXANDRA AMBROSIA - DELICIOSA ! ! !
- THE LIONS vs THE WATER BUFFALOES
- KEELEY HAZELL - TOPLESS CANDIDS !
- OMG - THEY ARE ALL RELATED ! ! !
- ASHLEY ALEXANDRA "KRISTEN" DUPRE YOUMANS ?
- CLAUDIA SCHIFFER - APRIL GQ
- DELTALINA - DELTA'S HOT PRE FLIGHT INFO BABE !
- SPENCER TUNICK - FOUR SEASONS - NYC
- THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT PRINTER INK !
- WHAT DETERMINES EASTER DAY ???
- JESSICA ALBA- GOTHAM MAGAZINE - MAY 2008
- MARIAH CAREY - THE WEIRD AL INTERVIEW
- ANOTHER "REGULAR GUY " RAPPER ???
- EASTER IMAGES - AROUND THE WORLD !
- THE LAST SUPPER - POP CULTURE EDITION !
- PEEP SHOW !
- MORE CUTE ANIMAL PHOTOS ! ! !
- RON MEUCK - REALISTIC SCULPTURES
- GEMMA ATKINSON - LOADED MAGAZINE
- CHLOE MARSHALL - PLUS SIZE (16) BEAUTY
- ASHLEY ALEXANDER DUPRE - US MAGAZINE
- SIGNS FROM BEIJING - BAD CHINGLISH ?
- SPITZER - MCGREEVEY - PATTERSON "LATE NIGHT JOKES"...
- THE JACK NICHOLSON COOKOO CLOCK ???
- LENINGRAD COWBOYS & THE RED ARMY CHOIR "SWEET HOME...
- ASHLEY DUPRE - MORE WILD & CRAZY GIRL PIX
- MACHINE ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR HUMANS ?
- MEET MEGHAN MCCAIN - DADDY'S GIRL ?
- GISELE BUNDCHEN - NUDE !
- BULGARIAN IDOL - ??? " WHOSE BAD" ???
- PHOTOSHOP DISASTERS ! ! !
- WHAT IS ZEITGEIST ???
- ASHLEY "KRISTEN" DUPRE - GONE WILD ???
- JENNIFER ANISTON - BIKINI FRIENDLY !
- PENIS FESTIVAL - ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN !
- R E M & THE MUPPETS "FURRY HAPPY MONSTERS"
- SPACE TOY COMMERCIALS OF THE 1970'S !
- THE SUNDAY AFTERNOON SONG ???
- JOE ROGAN - THE MYSTERIES OF EGYPT
- ROBERT PLANT JAMS WITH LOCAL POLICE (1989)
- PAM ANDERSON - DEFIES GRAVITY ???
- CROP CIRCLES ? NO COCAINE CIRCLES ! ! !
- CAUTION - ROAD CLOSED FOR TOAD F**CKING ?
- WORLDS MOST EXPENSIVE CELLPHONE ?
- JERRY SIENFELD TELLS JOHNNY CARSON ABOUT HIS NEW S...
- SKIPPY SHOWS US HIS "METAL FACE" !!!
- IMPROV EVERYWHERE- FOODCOURT MUSICAL
- MISS PHILLIPINES CONTESTANT "FAMILY ISSUES" ?
- ST PATRICKS DAY - IRISH IMAGES !
- HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY ! 2008
- MCGREEVEY'S AIDE STRIKES BACK ! ! !
- HOW IRISH IS O'BAMA REALLY ???
- IRAQ WAR HEARINGS - SNACK BREAK ???
- KIM KARDASHIAN - BACKSTAGE - LA FASHION WEEK
- JAPANS GREATEST INFOMERCIAL EVER ! ! !
- ELIOT'S KRISTEN - THE PERFECT BUSINESS MODEL ??
- Finally, Dutch say animal sex illegal !!!
- MADONNA - WILL NOT GO AWAY ! ! !
- PAPARAZZI PUMMELED BY NICOLE KIDMANS BODY GUARD !
- CLASSYCAT DOLLS - LA FASHION WEEK
- LESLIE & THE LY'S - ZOMBIE ZILLER ?
- ZIVITY - NAKED NETWORKING !!!
- HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY ! - SERIOUSLY ?
- ASHLEY ALEXANDER DUPREE "KRISTEN"
- MORE ELIOT SPITZER JOKES PLEASE !
- THE INCREDIBLE HULK 2008 - TRAILER !
- ELIOT SPITZER - A COMEDIANS WET DREAM !
- ELIOT SPITZER - THE PASSION OF POLITICS ?
- WHO NEEDS A MOVIE - CANADAS GREATEST LOCAL AD !
- AMANDA OVERMYER - NAKED IDOL ???
- ▼ March (159)