Record companies would sometimes make a dub of a master for release. In the days of acoustical recording, those dubs could be done pantographically (with a mechanical linkage), or horn-to-horn (which Edison sometimes did). Dubbing was done for a variety of reasons, including either excessive or inadequate run-in space, recording too close to the label area on the master, etc. In the electrical era, dubbing might be done of the cutting level was either too low or too high, in addition to the other reasons.

Prior to AC lighting and strobe discs, there was no truly accurate way to measure turntable speed. The old Victor catalogs often suggest putting a slip of paper between the record and the turntable, and counting 78 revolutions in one minute (this despite the fact that most of their records were not recorded at 78-rpm). It's probably rare that a recording technician making a dub would deliberately change the speed of a recording. If the dub was at a different speed than the original, the reason is probably the inability to accurately measure the speed of the playback turntable and the cutting lathe.

Aida Favia-Artsay, in Caruso on Records, made an incorrect observation about some Caruso 78-rpm reissues, where the dubbed reissue played at the same speed as the original release. She noted that this meant that both the playback turntable and the recording lathe were running at the speed of the original record. Her assumption is incorrect. The speed of the original record will be transferred to the dub as long as both the playback turntable and the cutting lathe are running at the same speed, and it makes no difference what that speed might be. It could be 60-rpm or 100-rpm, as long as both turntables are exactly the same.



Gary Galo
Audio Engineer Emeritus
The Crane School of Music
SUNY at Potsdam, NY 13676

"Great art presupposes the alert mind of the educated listener."
Arnold Schoenberg

"A true artist doesn't want to be admired, he wants to be believed."
Igor Markevitch

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ted Kendall
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2018 1:06 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Process in 1920s

I think there are some concealed assumptions here on the part of the OP, so to be perfectly clear :

Recording at this date was generally done direct to the master wax from which the disc was made. There were no intermediate media involved. If the record was played at the speed at which it was recorded, therefore, any pitch recorded would be the pitch replayed. Of course, if the replay speed differed from the recording speed, then any pitch could be produced, along with changes in duration and timbre.

Most operators aimed at the de facto standard speed of 78rpm. How closely some of the equipment used at the time, particularly in field recording, matched the standard is a matter for conjecture, which is why establishing the correct replay speed for a given recording can be less than starightforward.

On 22/01/2018 17:37, Lorna Fulton wrote:
> We’ve done that too!
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 22 Jan 2018, at 17:08, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi, Lorna,
>> That is a fascinating bit of evidence.  Don't you think, given that 
>> human beings are born tinkerers, that a knowledgeable recording 
>> engineer, using that piece of equipment and knowing that problem, 
>> would have applied some "Kentucky windage,"deliberately speeding up 
>> the recording process some more so the result would be closer to the 
>> original pitch when played back?  I sure would have done that.  The 
>> human factor probably interrupts what we would like to establish as some kind of rule.
>> Best,
>> John Haley
>> On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 11:57 AM, Lorna Fulton 
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> I record on a 1938 presto lathe and the recording (despite a lot of
>>> tinkering) consistently records at 7% more speed than the musicians 
>>> have just played at.
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> On 22 Jan 2018, at 16:31, Chris Smith <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>>> It¹s generally accepted that the Georgia Cotton Pickers¹ session of 
>>>> 7/8 December 1930 was recorded too slow, so that playback at 78 is too fast.
>>>> Southern Preservation Records issued ŒShe¹s Coming Back Some Cold 
>>>> Rainy Day¹ at both speeds on an LP - notes reproduced at 
>>> dlattach;topic=11117.0;a
>>>> ttach=6287;image. That was presumably an engineering error, rather 
>>>> than deliberate, however.Mississippi John Hurt¹s ŒFrankie¹ was 
>>>> similarly recorded too slow, and plays back too fast: some 
>>>> discussion at 
>>>> (My name 
>>>> is mentioned there; I would not  - I think - now support the theory I advanced, which is mentioned.
>>>> There is a persistent, and ridculous, theory that Robert Johnson¹s 
>>>> recordings were deliberately sped up for release, comprehensibely
>>> debunked
>>>> at
>>>> Chris Smith
>>>> On 22/01/2018 16:09, "Association for Recorded Sound Discussion 
>>>> List on behalf of Terri Brinegar" <[log in to unmask] on 
>>>> behalf of [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 ³F² 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]
>>>>> [log in to unmask]

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