From the "simultaneously cool and creepy" file, sit back and listen to the oldest recorded voice known to man — a person singing a snippet of "Au Clair de la Lune" in April 1860. Freaky. The recording was the work of Frenchman Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, who made it on an unlikely device called a phonautograph, which etched lines on lampblack-covered sheets of paper. Curiously, de Martinville meant to invent a visual medium, not an audio one — he wanted to make a visual representation of sound that could later be decoded by sight. You couldn't play it back with a needle now, but scientists figured out how to digitize the sheets of lampblacked paper and simulate playing them like a record. Listen to the result yourself — the singing, possibly by de Martinville's daughter, is damned eerie. I seem to recall that narrative convention requires us to hear unspeakable horrors triggering a SAN check under these circumstances. Anyway, this recording predates Edison's phonograph by 17 years and the previous oldest usable recording (made on a wax cylinder) by 28. Cool.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- A Few Notes On Lois Lerner And The Fifth Amendment - March 5th, 2014
- LEAVE HOUSTON CITY ATTORNEY DAVID M. FELDMAN ALONE - March 4th, 2014
- The Kaley Forfeiture Decision: What It Looks Like When The Feds Make Their Ham Sandwich - February 27th, 2014
- Controlling Public Art By Lawsuit: Japanese-American Citizens Sue To Remove "Comfort Women" Memorial - February 25th, 2014
- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) Files Highly Questionable Defamation Suit - February 23rd, 2014