Most Victor or Columbia records from this period play at speeds other than 78. Some actual speeds depend on knowing if the master was made in Europe or the U.S. The 50-60 cycle diifference affect speed.
I use a Korg guitar tuner and find a fixed pitch instrument to set speed. The turntable must be vari-speed, of course. I use a Tchnics 1200-II with the 78 speed customized by KAB electronics. Other use other tools. But the U.S. speed, actually 78.26, is nominal at best from this period.
I see you are working with Ethnographic materials. I'd give preference to the instrument to which the others tune, if possible. Sometimes the casual nature of such performance means you are on your own. At that point, I'd find a present day player and ask his device. DO NOT USE YOUTUBE-A great deal of it has sloppy engineering. Few even center the records before dubbing. Or LPs, for that matter. Many are enough off-speed to change the tone.
Sorry to be so Draconian about this issue, but that's the way this universe of saved sounds is constituted. Drawing scholarly conclusions from flawed data- well, we all know where that leads.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of BURNHAM
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2018 11:25 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Process in 1920s
Well I guess the engineer could have slowed down the recording turntable so that on playback the pitch would have been higher, but it would be difficult to do with any precision, and since there was little accuracy in playback speed, the actual playback pitch would be difficult to determine.
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> On Jan 22, 2018, at 11:09 AM, Terri Brinegar <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hello All,
> Can anyone tell me if recordings in the 1920s were transferred to disc at exactly the same speed as they were recorded? In other words, if someone is singing an “F” pitch on the recording, is that the actual pitch sung or could the engineer possibly speed it up somehow, thus raising the pitch? Not sure if that was possible back then.
> Thank you!
> Terri Brinegar
> PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology
> University of Florida
> [log in to unmask]
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