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The Oldest Recording

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News – The Oldest Recording
2008.03.28

The oldest human voice recording has been recently uncovered. Scientists have dated the clip – 10 seconds of a woman singing ‘Au Clair de la Lune’ – to 1860, preceding Thomas Edison’s recording of ‘Mary had a little lamb’ by 17 years. The discovery of the phonautograph recording was made by audio historian David Giovannoni. Phonautographs, invented by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville in Paris, worked through a needle that moved in response to sound, creating visual recordings of the waves. After finding two of Scott’s devices in France’s patent office, Giovannoni used optical imaging and a virtual stylus read the visual recordings. The resultant sounds were played to the annual conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections at Stanford University on 28th March, and can now be heard online. However, they did not gain wider coverage until they prompted Radio 4’s Charlotte Green to break down in giggles on the Today programme.

Of course, the modern transcription industry – not to mention many other industries – is now reliant on audio recording. Global Lingo can still provide real-time stenographers to produce transcripts without an audio recording, but most clients prefer the high quality and cost efficiency that comes from our transcripts of audio recordings. If you would like to know more about audio recordings or transcripts, please do not hesitate to contact us now.

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