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burdt on 05/04/2011 at 09:00AM

Amateur Cylinder Recordings

Edison Brown Wax Blanks

Brown wax cylinders, the primary medium for commercial recordings between 1895 and 1901, were in circulation much longer as wax “blanks”—to be recorded on and "shaved" (erasing the old grooves) and recorded on again.

The following is a selection from our minor collection of these. Each recording is a small wonder, for it is highly doubtful that their creators would ever have imagined that they would be heard so many years later.

A boy recites a psalm in the sober, headlong fashion of a child. How old is he?

Men sing to the tune of “John Brown’s Body.”  Have they had too much to drink? 

The vocal duet of Suwanee River—is that a husband and wife, brother and sister, friends?

And then there are the animal noises--is that a real cat or someone imitating a cat? We hope it is the latter...

These few minutes of sound give us an aural snapshot of the lives of people from a previously silent era.

This glimpse into the quiet past has its complications though.

Since amateur recording practices weren't standardized at this time, level discrepancies, speed fluctuations, and unintended noise were recurring issues that we have to deal with while preserving and digitizing these cylinders today.

In spite of these engineering problems, the essence of the past remains. It is this, more than anything, that keeps us listening.

Via UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive » Visit Blog » 2 COMMENTS Share
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cylinder, ucsb, digitization, cpdp
katya-oddio on 12/24/2010 at 09:30AM

Voices of Christmas Past

"Julaftonen (Christmas Eve)" watercolor c. 1905 by Carl Larsson (1853–1919)

Twelve years ago, the vintage recordings website Dawn of Sound released a compact disc collection of public domain early recording artifacts called Voices of Christmas Past. The recordings were cylinders and acetates from 1898 to 1922. Every year after the release, the website was inundated with requests for the CD. Once it was out of print, Dawn of Sound released it online for free.

Apart from the religious material, there are some fun winter-themed treats, two pieces from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, and some spoken old time radio theatre selections.

Dawn of Sound writes:

The artists featured here were pioneer recordings artists whose names were well known in the era they lived. They helped start what is now known today as the record industry. They were popular artist in their time, and their records sold well in an era when movies were silent and radio and television did not yet exist.

Of all things Christmas nothing is more traditional than the singing of carols and songs....


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katya-oddio on 12/24/2010 at 09:30AM

Voices of Christmas Past

"Julaftonen (Christmas Eve)" watercolor c. 1905 by Carl Larsson (1853–1919)

Twelve years ago, the vintage recordings website Dawn of Sound released a compact disc collection of public domain early recording artifacts called Voices of Christmas Past. The recordings were cylinders and acetates from 1898 to 1922. Every year after the release, the website was inundated with requests for the CD. Once it was out of print, Dawn of Sound released it online for free.

Apart from the religious material, there are some fun winter-themed treats, two pieces from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, and some spoken old time radio theatre selections.

Dawn of Sound writes:

The artists featured here were pioneer recordings artists whose names were well known in the era they lived. They helped start what is now known today as the record industry. They were popular artist in their time, and their records sold well in an era when movies were silent and radio and television did not yet exist.

Of all things Christmas nothing is more traditional than the singing of carols and songs....


READ MORE
Via Oddio Overplay » Visit Blog » 2 COMMENTS Share