Humanity's First Recordings of its Own Voice: The Phonautograms of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (c.1853-1860)

Documentary heritage submitted by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2015.

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invented sound recording when he conceived of a machine that would do for the ear what the camera did for the eye. In this fonds comprised of 50 sound recordings and associated manuscripts, lie humanity’s first recordings of its own voice—each seminal, unique, and irreplaceable—the first human vocalizations captured from the air by machine, inscribed onto a permanent medium. They precede every other recorded and retrievable airborne sound.

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