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Sound recording predates Edison's phonograph

The newly discovered phonoautograph of the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune," made in 1860, is now considered the earliest known sound recording.

Jon Skillings Director of copy editing
A born browser of dictionaries and a lifelong New Englander, Jon Skillings is director of copy editing at CNET. He honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing tech publications back when the web was just getting under way. He writes occasionally, on topics from GPS to James Bond.
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Jon Skillings

It's not exactly Gershwin's "An American in Paris," but there is one thing very significant about an archaic 10-second recording discovered earlier this month in the City of Lights by a group of American audio historians: it is the earliest known sound recording. The phonoautograph of the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune" was made in 1860, some 17 years before the advent of Thomas Edison's phonograph. And get this: it was a visual tool, not an audio one. Still, scientists figured out how to make it play.

Read more at The New York Times: "Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison"