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.
The development of sound reproduction is discussed, from Leon Scott's phonautograph
and Edison's phonograph to the emergence of radio and electronic recording.
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.