Can you hear me mon ami Pierrot?

August 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

This morning, like I do every morning as I woke up, the first thing, I turned on my radio. “Ohm G – Lost In Paradise” was warming my room and was waking me up. I like music in every moment in my life. I always listen something. Being an addiction, Music is the food of my soul (basically) and that’s the only way I know to nourish myself. Life would be so difficult if we did not have those devices; radio, computer, internet.. I do like the very old times as well though, when you could only listen the music “live”, having a tea party with your friends, playing as a quartet all together. Anyway, that’s far old now and we have the chance click on “lastfm” write “Chick Corea” and listen. Do you ever think how does the music reaches us?

Ok let’s have quick look on Music History, folks.
The automatic reproduction of music can be traced back as far as the 9th century, when the Banū Mūsā brothers invented the earliest known mechanical musical instrument.This was the hydraulic organ which was an early type of pipe organ that operated by converting the dynamic energy of water into air pressure to drive the pipes. Hence its name hydraulis, literally “water (driven) pipe (instrument).”

In the Middle Ages, many researchers tried to record sounds but they were not too successful, due to the insufficient knowledge. Giovanni Battista della Porta, a great natural scientist, who lived in the 16th century, wanted to “trap” the sound with metal tubes. He thought, if he speaks into the tube and covers that very fast, then the sound will be caught and he can listen that later.But it didn’t happen.

In the 14th century, Flanders introduced a mechanical bell-ringer controlled by a rotating cylinder. Similar designs appeared in barrel organs (15th century), musical clocks (1598), barrel pianos (1805), and musical boxes (1815).

All of these machines could play stored music, but they could not play arbitrary sounds, could not record a live performance, and were limited by the physical size of the medium.

First, Jean Duhamel, French physician and mathematician proposed a good plan of a sound recorder and player machine. He thought that the vibrations of air could be recorded by an elastic membrane connected with a needle that scratches a soft material.

Now, the earliest known device for recording sound was the phonautograph. This device used a horn to direct sound toward a flexible diaphragm placed at the small end. Attached to the diaphragm was a stylus and lever assembly that allowed the point to scratch out a line on a rotating cylinder beneath it. The cylinder (glass strips were later used) was coated with “lampblack,” probably applied by holding it over a flame and allowing carbon to accumulate. Invented by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, it was patented on March 25, 1857.

The recording of “Au Clair de la Lune“, recorded in 1860, is thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice. “When I first heard the recording as you hear it … it was magical, so ethereal,” audio historian David Giovannoni, who found the recording.

Scientists have managed to play back the recording using a virtual “stylus”, which is really a computer program that reads the recording from a scanned image. The process sort of reminds me of this extremely interesting technique.

As the phonautograph was a manually-cranked device, the speed varied throughout the recording and likewise the pitch changes somewhat over time, giving it a bit of a warbly sound.

Let’s leave it for now… hope you enjoy the first woman recording. Next to come Phonograph (Turntable)


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