He had not been forgetful of "Visible Speech" all this while, but had been making experiments with two remarkable machines--the phonautograph
and the manometric capsule, by means of which the vibrations of sound were made plainly visible.
The book's title, a neologism about the archaeology of recorded sound, refers to a very early form of recording technology (the "phonautograph
") in which sounds were captured on smoke.
(15) Conversely, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville's midcentury phonautograph
(and Alexander Graham Bell's modification of it) could record sound waves by tracing vibrations onto soot-covered paper wrapped around cylinders, but phonautograms could not be replayed.
Indeed, the recording and publishing industries owe their existence to these developments, as well as many others: the player piano; the Phonautograph
; (2) the cylinder Phonograph; the Gramophone; the Telagraphone; lacquer-coated discs; magnetic tape; multitrack recording; Vinyl records; cassette tape; Apple's personal computer; the Compact Disc; the MP3 (and various formats); the Internet; smart phones; and the Cloud.
Burrows, an author, producer, and musician in the UK, traces the history of recorded sound through illustrations, from Edouard-Leon Scott de MartinvilleAEs invention of the phonautograph
in 1857 to the streaming music services of today.
Not surprisingly, Roden is interested in Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, the Frenchman who, decades before Edison's first recording, used a "phonautograph
" device to scratch sound waves on soot-covered paper, not for direct playback but for the purpose of visualizing sound.
It was made on April 9, 1860, by Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville on a device called the phonautograph
that scratched sound waves onto a sheet of paper blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp.
The "scientific" lineage of this enterprise goes back to Leon Scott's 1857 phonautograph
; apparently we still believe that the audible is unknowable, that only the visible can be contemplated and treated as evidence.
While the phonograph has important precursors, such as Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville's phonautograph
, I focus on Edison's groundbreaking invention.
37-51)--psychologists utilizing familiar and modified physiological instruments such as tuning forks (for "recording vibrations and marking time"), kymographs ("to record any process whose course is a function of time elapsed"), chronographs (used for measuring reaction-time in relation to sense impressions), phonautographs
(for making graphic recordings and taking measurements of speech), and other apparatus could accurately "photograph," as one psychologist put it, a range of putatively "transient phenomena" (Cattell, pp.