Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well, It May Not Be TV, Exactly, But...

Wow! Amazing story in the NY Times today, about a phonautogram, a visual sound recording made on an early phonatograph, which researchers recently decoded and were able to play. The most incredible thing about this recording is that it's from 1860!

I'm not even going to try to explain this amazing development, but do read the article and marvel at how modern scientific and computer technology enabled the world to hear again the voice of someone living nearly a hundred and fifty years ago. You can actually listen to some of the recording, too.

If this kind of a story isn't enough to get your imagination going, nothing is! I think it's just astonishingly neat!

For more information on the phonaugraph and other early recording devices, check out this nice primer on Wikipedia, which I find is a great place to start research on almost anything!

1 comment:

Jane said...

This is great stuff. A real live time machine! It reminds me of an HBO movie I saw a while back about a "musicologist" from early 20th century who went to Appalachia to record folk music on some sort of ancient recording device that involved a drum like the kind inside a player piano. She discovered a direct link between the music that the hillbillies were playing and traditional music from Ireland and Scotland that had been spawned 200 years earlier. It was fascinating and I can't get enough of this kind of stuff! Another great topic, descendants from Gullah island off the coast of South Carolina who still have words and speech patterns passed down from their African ancestors that have survived over 150 years. It's a good thing someone is recording all this stuff!