Sound Recording Predates Edison Phonograph Thomas Edison wasn't the first person to record sound. A French man named Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville actually did it earlier. He recorded someone singing in 1860 and now a group of researchers have figured out how to play it. They are presenting it publicly for the first time on Friday at Stanford University.
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Sound Recording Predates Edison Phonograph

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Sound Recording Predates Edison Phonograph

Sound Recording Predates Edison Phonograph

Sound Recording Predates Edison Phonograph

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Recorded in 1860 - Someone singing part of 'Au Clair de la Lune.'

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Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented the phonautograph in 1857. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution hide caption

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National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Thomas Edison wasn't the first person to record sound. A Frenchman named Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville actually did it earlier.

He invented a device called the phonautograph, and, on April 9, 1860, recorded someone singing the words, "Au clair de la lune, Pierrot repondit." But he never had any intention of playing it back. He just wanted to study the pattern the sound waves made on a sheet of paper blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp.

A group of researchers found some of his old phonautograph papers and used a computer program to play the recording. They are presenting it publicly for the first time on Friday at Stanford University.

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