If you read the New York Times story today about what researchers say is the earliest known audio recording, you probably went online to actually hear the 10-second clip. To our CD- and mp3-honed ears, it barely sounds like music. To be honest, it sounds more like muffled snoring layered over a static track.
Nevertheless, it's pretty remarkable.
To give Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville some credit, when he recorded the French folk song Au Claire de la Lune in 1860, "the idea of audio play-back had not been conceived," according to the Times. So de Martinville likely didn't have any idea how it sounded – or if his ditty would ever be heard. (Since I'm already geeking out here, I'll note that ditty derives from the French for "to speak.") This was all 17 years before Edison patented his phonograph.
Well, we've heard it now, thanks to scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. They meticulously converted lines on paper to sound.
I think I've found a new ringtone.
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