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ARSCLIST  April 2010

ARSCLIST April 2010

Subject:

Re: Celebrating a Sesquicentennial

From:

"Steven C. Barr" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 9 Apr 2010 22:35:53 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (79 lines)

--------------------------------------------------
From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <[log in to unmask]>
> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> David Giovannoni wrote:
>> Thanks to George Brock-Nannestad for his kind review of our work.  As a
>> modern pioneer in the study of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, 
>> George's
>> good words mean much to us.
> Hello, David!
> ----- I think that maybe people of the kind that adhere to ARSCLIST are
> somewhat more blasé than the general public, which has displayed a strong
> resonance created by the various FirstSound initiatives, as witnessed by 
> the
> number of blogs, websites, etc. that have incorporated Scott material in
> their own "artistic" presentations. ARSCLIST adherents are to a large 
> degree
> already aware of the historical implications of sonic documents; many 
> already
> hold treasures, and the contrast to the well-known does not seem so large.
> However, this being the beginnings of recorded sound, obviously there are
> very few who have embedded themselves so much in what was at the time
> possible, available, and performed that they can put the various phenomena 
> in
> context. To this you and your group have contributed tremendously.
>> As ARSC members know, our website is only one of several ways in which
>> First Sounds works to facilitate the preservation of and access to the 
>> world's
>> earliest sound recordings.  For instance, this week I'm meeting with
>> colleagues at the Paris institutions with which we've worked over the 
>> last
>> two years.  I have the pleasure of delivering to each electronic images
>> that will remain for some time their best form of digital preservation, 
>> and
>> their best avenue of access to, their own Scott materials.
> ----- some of the access was indeed oldfashioned and the quality likewise, 
> to
> be kind
>> On Friday we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Au Clair de la Lune by
>> Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville - the earliest audibly recognizable
>> recording of the human voice yet recovered.  Although this anniversary
>> will go essentially unnoticed everywhere else, I would expect my 
>> colleagues in
>> the ARSCisphere to note the occasion in their own special ways.
> ----- I for one shall take time off to engross myself in the new materials
> that I have only scratched so far
>> On Friday I'll join the Scott de Martinville family in a celebration and
>> homage.  We'll patronize establishments that Édouard-Léon himself might
>> have frequented for conversation, libation, and a good meal.  And we'll 
>> visit
>> places he used to live and work and institutions he aspired to enter.
>> Celebrate with us!  On Friday (preferably by the light of the moon) raise
>> a glass in the direction of Paris and toast an inventor whose experiment
>> with sound writing itself - made 150 years ago to the day - succeeded far
>> beyond his own expectations.
> ----- I think he was distinctly unhappy about the whole thing, and at the
> time he could or would certainly not see the relevance of reproduction. So 
> I
> shall commiserate instead.
>> We'll raise our glasses back at you.
> ----- in my case, direct them north-by-northeast!
>> And in a more sober moment, check out the primary documents George
>> reviewed yesterday that trace the inception, development, and maturation 
>> of Scott's
>> phonautographic work. They're all at FirstSounds.org.
> ----- now, there is a reason to celebrate!
>
Note that Scott's "phonautographs" were NOT "sound recordings" in the
modern sense of that term! They DID establish important (and not then
known) facts about how sound was transmitted; however, it took a large
number of years before they could successfully be reproduced (which
was NOT the original intent in any case!)!

They established that the sounds we humans hear are simply variations
of air pressure; it would be over a decade later that Edison would
successfully record sound so that it could be reproduced. Note that
Edison (AFAIK?) was NOT trying to extend Scott's discoveries...?!

Steven C. Barr 

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