Memory of the World Register

United Kingdom - Historic Ethnographic Recordings (1898 – 1951) at the British Library

The Historic Ethnographic Recordings collection contains field recordings of orally transmitted cultures made throughout the world by linguists and musicologists. Some of these recordings represent the earliest extant sources for research into those cultures, and have captured in the most vivid format available at the time, unmediated by foreign textual interpretation, a linguistic and cultural diversity in a precious moment on the cusp of today’s ‘global village’. Not only were these recordings among the first of such to be made but also they may be the last: many of the languages and musical practices that feature in this collection are endangered or no longer exist.

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