Sound recording technology actually began before the phonograph,  with scientific devices for studying sound waves. Later, sound recording 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 this site weaves into that story some details about other types of recording. Some of these might not seem interesting at first, such as telephone recording (like voicemail). Others may not even seem like a sound recording technology at all, because they have blended into other technologies, such as the soundtracks for motion 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, start with the first one.