phonograph hist of rock - Weems 1 Lara Weems Musicology 120...

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Weems 1 Lara Weems Musicology 120 Section # 002 April 3, 2008 Edison and the Phonograph Introduction Thomas Alva Edison’s invention of the phonograph has shaped American entertainment today. Living in a world where we could not listen to Justin Timberlake while we jogged through our neighborhood, hear Shakira blast while we danced in the clubs, or hear the sweet melodies of Michael Buble while we looked our lover in the eyes would be pure torture to most Americans. We live in a world where music is everywhere, in the grocery stores, shopping malls, doctors’ offices and even elevators! Television shows and Hollywood movies thrive on music to set the mood for climatic scenes. Before Thomas Edison’s phonograph, listening to recorded music was unthinkable; now, not listening to recorded music is unthinkable! A life without recorded music would seem dull and unimaginative. Biography/Factual Information The invention of the phonograph was largely due to the previous invention of the Telegraph by Samuel Morse and the Telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. Thomas Edison had been actively studying the mechanics of both the telephone and the telegraph, trying to find a solution to the Western Union’s problem of transmitting messages quickly and efficiently. Edison soon found that he could transcribe messages through indentions on a paper tape. This advancement caused Edison to surmise that he could similarly record telephone conversations.
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Weems 2 Edison later used the dot and dash stylus system of the telegraph in addition to the mouthpiece of the telephone to aid his phonograph. Edison’s first try did not have the results he had hoped for. Instead of conveying his voice, as wished, the phonograph blared a distinct noise, which was produced by his screaming into the mouthpiece. Instead of seeing this experiment as a failure, Edison was convinced that he would be able, indeed, to produce a recording of the human voice. This test occurred in July of 1877 (Edison film and sound: The history of the phonograph). After many experiments with the recording of telephone messages, Edison found that tin foil sheets worked much better than the previously used paper, and mounted this tin foil on a cylinder that was lined with grooves. A hand crank was used to turn the cylinder for playback use. The
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course MUSICOLOGY 201 taught by Professor Miller during the Spring '08 term at University of Tennessee.

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phonograph hist of rock - Weems 1 Lara Weems Musicology 120...

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