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EarliestRecording 2ndLd-Writethru 03-27 Web

Recording may predate Edison

At first listen, the grainy high-pitched warble doesn’t sound like much, but scientists say the French recording from 1860 is the oldest known recorded human voice.

The 10-second clip of a woman singing "Au Clair de la Lune," taken from a so-called phonautogram, was recently discovered by audio historian David Giovannoni. The recording predates Thomas Edison’s "Mary had a little lamb" — previously credited as the oldest recorded voice — by 17 years.

The tune was captured using a phonautograph, a device created by Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville that created visual recordings of sound waves.

Giovannoni and his research partner, Patrick Feaster, began looking for phonautograms last year and in December discovered two of Scott’s — from 1857 and 1859 — in France’s patent office.

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