Audio historians have found a set of French “phonautogram” recordings from 1860 that predate Thomas Edison’s recordings by more than 10 years.
On a digital copy of the recording provided to The New York Times, the anonymous vocalist, probably female, can be heard against a hissing, crackling background din. The voice, muffled but audible, sings, “Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit” in a lilting 11-note melody — a ghostly tune, drifting out of the sonic murk.
What’s even cooler, you can download the clip yourself and listen to it. The quality’s not great, but it’s clearly a woman singing. Very neat.