Listen to the Earliest Known Voice Recording From 1860


This 1860 phonautogram by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville is the oldest known intelligible recording of the human voice. Digitized and played at the correct speed, it reveals a man’s voice (probably Scott de Martinville’s) singing “Au clair de la lune”.

The phonoautograph was the first device created for recording sound, however they had no way to play them back. The phonautograph was invented by Parisian inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. It uses sheets of paper with sound-wave-modulated lines created by a vibrating stylus that would cut through a coating of soot soot as the paper passed under it.

The following phonoautograph recording was played back as sound for the first time in 2008 by scanning it and graphically encoding the sound into a digital audio file.

Click the play button below to hear it:

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