There is a really interesting article in the Arts section of this morning's (Thursday, March 27) New York Times about newly uncovered research that challenges the belief that Thomas Edison was the father of recorded sound. This new research claims that even before Edison had recorded his first sounds a French man named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville recorded a ten second sound bite of a female vocalist singing a French folk song (Au Clair de la Lune) back in 1860. However, it was not recorded onto a record but rather on a "phonautograph" or "phonautogram" (as seen in photo left) which was in turn recently made playable - by converting the written images on the paper into sound - by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Library. If you click on the NYTimes story, not only can you read about this amazing discovery in detail, but they also have an MP3 sound file of this historic 10-second 1860 recording.
When you stop and think about it, it is truly amazing how far we have come in the advancement of music recording and playback in the short time span (relatively in the history of mankind) since Thomas Edison (pictured right) first invented the phonograph in 1877 and unveiled it a year later to an amazed public.