Evolution of Records and Sound Recording Promote Communication

By Chengya Lu

In 1877, Thomas Edison created the phonograph - a device to record and play sound. Following Edison's invention, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, set out to improve Edison's device. With the help of France's Volta Prize award in 1880, Bell used the funds to create a laboratory in Washington D.C., where his team created an improved phonograph called the graphophone. Both used cylinder records, but unlike the phonograph that used tinfoil-coated records, the gra...phophone used wax and as such, it allowed records to be removed, stored and played later.

"(These) recordings cheapened the live performance experience. The machines were ‘remarkable’ and were sufficient for people who weren't able to learn music or attend a performance.” - John Philip Sousa, an American composer (1906).

The development of sound recording not only enriched people’s social life but also integrated music among white and black Americans. Sound recording influenced the spread of genres such as jazz, blues, ragtime and more. A popular ragtime hit from the early 20th century was "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin. This genre spread throughout the country due to its upbeat tempo and danceable sound. This music led to and influenced the development of swing, soul and cool jazz. The evolution of records and sound recording pushed music to the forefront of culture, and impacted the collection and sharing of communication.

Check out this video of a 1908 Columbia BC Graphophone: http://bit.ly/2hUEpra