Filling in the Gaps: Some Discographic Inferences

In discography—the “bibliography” of recorded sound—inferences based on patterns have traditionally been discouraged.  If matrices 6146-6148 and 6150-6154 are all known to have been recorded by a particular musician on 17 April 1923, for instance, the experts would caution us against assuming the same of matrix 6149.  And they’d be quite right: the recordings could…

A Musical Graphophone Disc from 1885

An exhibition on “Alexander Graham Bell and the Origins of Recorded Sound” opened this week at the National Museum of American History, including audio recovered from select artifacts.  Here I’d like to showcase one recording from the same group which we haven’t heard yet, since I want to stress the value of continuing efforts to…

The Fishy Phonograph of Professor Kollicher

Have you heard of Professor Kollicher (or Kollicker, or Koellecker), the fish expert who took a phonograph into the ocean depths in the 1890s and 1900s to record the sounds made by sharks, eels, and other marine creatures?  Here, gathered together for what I believe is the first time, are several accounts of his underwater…