150-year old sound

Published: Wednesday 30 April 2008

A 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song, thought to be the oldest recorded human voice, has been played for the first time in 150 years.

The recording of "Au Clair de la Lune" was done on April 9, 1860 on a phonautograph, a device created by a Parisian inventor, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. It was retrieved by the us historian David Giovannoni. The historian was aided by First Sounds, a group of audio historians, recording engineers and sound archivists who aim to make mankind's earliest sound recordings available to all. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California, also collaborated in the effort. "The rendition sounded ethereal," Giovannoni said. Previously, the oldest known recorded voice was thought to be Thomas Alva Edison's recording of Mary had a little lamb. The inventor of the light bulb recorded the stanza to test another of his inventions--the phonograph--in 1877.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.