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Phonautograph-cent2

The first recordings of the human voice are now online at First Sounds. They were made on a phonautogram, a device that apparently recorded sounds visually, but of which it was, until recently, unknown how to playback the recordings. The recording is of 16th century Italian poet Torquato Tasso’s pastoral drama Aminta: Chi crederia che sotto forme umane e sotto queste pastorali spoglie fosse nascosto un Dio? Non mica un–[“Who would believe that under human form and under this pastoral garb there would be found a God? Not only a….”]. A very suitable tekst, one might add, for the first recordings of a speaking human voice.

By the way, if you want to make a recording of a tekst yourself you can do so at readthewords.com, a free software program that converts tekst to audio files. (They offer 15 different voices, of which the default is Lauren a ‘US female’).

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