Oldest record human voice now online – the 1860s French folk revival starts here

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phonautograph.jpgA 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song is now online – dating from 1860 and believed to be the oldest known recorded human voice. The recording of Au Clair de la Lune pre-dates the phonograph of Thomas Edison singing a children’s song by 17 years – previously thought to be the oldest record.

The short song was captured by a phonautograph, a device created by a Parisian inventor, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. It etched representations of sound waves into paper covered in soot from a burning oil lamp, with the soot-covered paper now digitally scanned by scientists – a ‘virtual stylus’ reading the scrawls.

And now you can hear it below.

Audio recording (via BBC)

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Dave Walker