Édouard-Léon Scott De MartinvilleAu Clair De La Lune

Label:Parlortone – PT-1001
Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single Sided, Etched, Limited Edition
Style:Nursery Rhymes


AAu Clair De La Lune0:20

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This is the earliest intelligible recording of the human voice: an historic 20-second version of "Au clair de la lune" made in 1860, 17 years before Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph.
Comes with a descriptive essay and a reproduction of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s original "Au clair" Phonautogramme.
Limited edition of 1500.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (On sticker): 880226100117
  • Matrix / Runout: U - 63144M - A PT - 1001

Other Versions (1)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Au Clair De La Lune (Cylinder, , Phonautogram)Not On Label (Édouard-Léon Scott De Martinville Self-released)N°5France1860



  • eusebius's avatar
    Edited one year ago
    This is the earliest intelligible recording of the human voice: a 20-second version of Au Clair de la Lune made 17 years before Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph.

    Example “No. 5” (the mentioned nursery rhyme) was recorded on April 9, 1860. Scott de Martinville prepared the recording surface by wrapping a sheet of paper around a cylinder, which he rotated over a smoking lantern to cover with soot. He recorded with two styli: one driven by the vibrations of a tuning fork, the other driven by a membrane vibrating in sympathy with his voice. He removed the paper from the cylinder and immersed it in an alcohol-based fixative from behind its curtain of noise.

    Initially it was thought that the recorded voice belonged to a young woman, but it is now assumed, after a speed correction of the playback, that it is probably Scott de Martinville's own voice (for more details refer to Pictures Of Sound: One Thousand Years Of Educed Audio: 980-1980, p. 77, 81 and 84).

    Scott de Martinville patented his own invention (no. 31470) under the name "phonautographe" on March 25, 1857. The scientific principles of "phonautographie" were sent under a sealed letter to the Académie des Sciences on January 26, 1857 as an evidence of his invention. Conceived as a stenographic device, the "phonautographe" recorded sound through a horn that focused the sound waves onto a membrane to which a wild boar's bristle was attached, causing the bristle to move and enabling it to inscribe the sound onto a lamp-blackened glass plate, later replaced by a lamp-blackened paper mounted on a drum or cylinder.

    It should be noted that Scott de Martinville's ultimate goal in recording sound was not to play it back, but to represent it on paper in a visually intelligible form as an improvement on ordinary written language: "it will be living speech; our manual or printed calligraphy is nothing but dead speech".


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