The posts here have been focused on music lately, so I will continue that theme with the following artifact.
|Edison Wax Cylinder|
We talk a lot about artifacts – usually those of other, extinct cultures, and less often of those of our own. And of course the latter is the focus of this blog. In both cases, however, we normally encounter physical remains of another time. The sufficiently distant past is usually represented by objects or images.
The Internet Archive contains a number of examples of very early sound recordings. Most of the older examples date to the 1910s or 1920s. One in particular, however, is a rare and haunting example of a true audio relic. In fact, it is one of the oldest known recordings of human voice. In 1888, or just over ten years after Edison introduced his phonograph, an agent for his company attended the Ninth Triennial Handel Festival at Crystal Palace, London. A note on the wax cylinder that he recorded that summer day reads “A chorus of 4000 voices recorded with phonograph over 100 yards away.”
|Handel Festival, London, 1888.|