The Technologies of Sound Recording: Start Here

The following overview is for those interested in the technical side of sound recording's history. Actually, that is this site's focus. Not every machine invented to record sound is represented here, but most of the basic technologies are covered. First, some definitions and general comments. Sound recording began before the phonograph with scientific devices for studying sound waves. Later it was adapted to allow both recording and reproducing. This opened the door to the most familiar forms of sound recording; the technologies for recording and reproducing music. Recorded music is an issue of great importance, but I have attempted to weave into that story some details about other types of recording. Many of these are ubiquitous but somewhat mundane, such as telephone voice recording, or they have merged into other technologies, such as the "soundtracks" for motions pictures and television.

The pages that follow are short histories of various types of sound recording technologies. If you are completely new to the subject, I would suggest starting with the first one.