When Were the First Sound Recordings

Categories:Audio, Blog Post

When were the first sound recordings made?

If you ask most people about the first sound recording they would reply Edison. He recorded a nursery rhyme on a cylinder gramophone in 1877 and when they do you can tell them they are wrong!

They may then state that prior to this mechanical musical devices such as a barrel organ or musical box could only play pre-programmed stored music. It could not record a live performance.

As often happens in history, there is a twist. Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville made the earliest known live sound recordings on a phonautograph in 1857. The recordings were made by scratching wavy lines on a strip of paper blackened by soot from an oil lamp.

These recordings could not be played at that time. One was eventually read using a laser stylus at Indiana University, Bloomington USA, in 2008. The recording was found to be the inventor singing a French folk song.