CENTURIES OF SOUND.

Author:Walker, Jesse
Position:PLAYLIST - Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville's music transcription machine - Brief article
 
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Two decades before phonographs existed, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented a machine for transcribing sounds onto paper. This wasn't meant as a playback device, but scientists eventually managed to transmute those transcriptions back into audio again. The resulting recording is "far indeed from easy listening," blogger James Errington warns us. Instead, it's "slightly tuned white noise, through which you can hear something; not enough to really make out much, but unmistakably a human voice."

That muffled voice, captured singing "Au Clair de la Lune" in 1860, can be heard in the first installment of Errington's Centuries of Sound project.

The basic concept is simple: Every month, Errington posts a mix of recordings from a different year. Each DJ set comes with an essay offering some context for what we're hearing--and, sometimes just as important, what we're not hearing...

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