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Oldest sound recording resurrected

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 01:48

June 28 - Modern technology may have resurrected the oldest sound recording in the world from an image in a German magazine from 1890. The recording is the muffled voice of the father of the gramophone, Emile Berliner he recites Friedrich Schiller's ballad ''Der Handschuh.'' Ben Gruber reports.

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STORY: Patrick Feaster loves old school vinyl. He's the sound historian at Indiana University and his latest find may be as vintage as it gets. That's the voice of gramophone founder Emile Berliner, reciting Friedrich Schiller's ballad "Der Handschuh." It was recorded 122 years ago. The original recording doesn't exist anymore but Feaster found a printed copy of it in an article written by Berliner in a German magazine dating back to 1890. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PATRICK FEASTER, SOUND HISTORIAN, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "I've been taking images of sound recordings taken on paper in ink and converting them back into sound just as though they were playable disks." Feaster says it's a daunting task. He resurrected the sound file by scanning the image and de-coding it. Then he re-linked and formatted the file using a specialized computer programme. Listening to the recording for the first time, Feaster says he couldn't believe his ears. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PATRICK FEASTER, SOUND HISTORIAN, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "That format originated with the gramophone of Emile Berliner and this recording "Der Handschuh" appears to be the oldest gramophone recording we can listen to today. So in that sense it is the oldest ancestor of vintage vinyl that anybody has ever tried to play." Feaster says if early photographs provide a window on people in the past, recordings like these give them a voice. Ben Gruber, Reuters.

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Oldest sound recording resurrected

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 01:48