Another Extremely Cool Discovery: First Recorded Voice

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.

2 thoughts on “Another Extremely Cool Discovery: First Recorded Voice”

  1. I’m still trying to figure out why the French went to Lawrence to get it decoded.
    The job would not be trivial but isn’t that difficult in a well equiped lab. It requires a really good spot scanner and a semi-custom piece of software.

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