A 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)