Friday, June 5, 2009

150 years (and counting)

Little did we know it until very recently, but this year apparently marks the 150th anniversary of recorded sound.

David Giovannoni and Patrick Feaster, after digging through an archive in Paris, last year released a playback of an 1860 "phonautogram," which stores audio information through visual representation of sound waves. The device was invented by a Paris typesetter named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville.

Now the two researchers have released more phonautograms, including one from 1859, reports Slate culture blogger Jody Rosen:

The phonautograms can be heard on Giovannoni's and Feaster's Web site, First Sounds: