A recording of time

by: Aurora Lockhart

“If I had to watch a whole documentary on the invention of sound recording back in school, I would’ve groaned and probably attempted to back out of it. But now that I have freedom in my own time, I’ve found myself watching videos on the topic out of my own curiosity. One of the oldest recordings we can hear today dates back to 1860, which is Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville singing Au Clair de la Lune as he tested his invention, the phonautograph. While the audio quality grates against the ears, it’s fascinating for me to hear the voice of a man from centuries ago. While many comment that the sound scares them and makes them feel like they’re hearing a ghost, I like to think of it more like time travel, or a long-distance one-way conversation. We’re not only separated by a length of distance between countries, but a large amount of time. But for a few seconds, we can briefly interact: He sings into his contraption, and we in the future can hear him. This may not seem so interesting, as recording audio is just a simple everyday thing for many of us. But to see the effort and struggles behind its creation helps us better understand how great it really was in a time when it seemed impossible. Because these inventors persisted past their failures, we can listen to our favorite music whenever. And of course, we can do a lot more, thanks to the inventions of other various things, and their inventors. Before we ridicule someone for their strange interests, we should remember that morbid curiosities can lead to something big.”

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