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The earliest recorded sounds

Monday, February 20, 2012

Here is the scoop on a very interesting article about the oldest known recordings of the human voice that appeared in The Economist the other day.

The story begins:

IT MUST have been excruciating for the National Museum of American History's archivists to have the earliest known recordings of the human voice but not to be able to listen to them. The records, made in the Volta Lab of Alexander Graham Bell in the early 1880s, were too fragile to play. But the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory figured out how to scan them optically and retrieve the sound...

The article, which includes YouTube footage of a digitally transcribed phonograph (a crackly version of "To be, or not to be" from Hamlet no less) can be read in full here.

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