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Hands-on Science at
Pasadena Public Library
AnnMarie Hurtado,
Librarian
August 8, 2015
*Invented by Édouard-Léon
Scott de Martinville in
France, 1857
*Sound waves were
scratched onto a cylinder
coated with soo...
*It used a HUMAN EAR
from the skull of a
cadaver (dead body) to
be the diaphragm
vibrating.
*Bell attached a stylus to
thi...
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=bachman&book=inventors&story=bell
But I’m
betting it
didn’t smell
too good.
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?
author=bachman&book=inventors&story=bell
*Thomas Edison was the first
person to hear his own voice
played back to him. (Scott’s
and Bell’s phonautographs only
reco...
*Turn a crank to rotate a cylinder
while talking into a mouthpiece.
The diaphragm and needle scratch
your sound waves into...
*Each cylinder was expensive
and was only large enough
to record a few minutes of
sound—cylinders had to be
replaced often...
*Emil Berliner, a German
immigrant, came up with a
solution to the problems with
Edison’s invention. His
gramophone scratc...
*Berliner also came up with a
solution to the problem of
producing copies. Using a
process called electroplating,
which ch...
*Berliner understood American
consumers and their needs a
little better than Edison did.
He knew that most people
were hap...
My initial publicity said we were going to make
our own “phonograph,” but actually what we
will be making is more like a g...
*Eventually Berliner’s hand-
cranked gramophones were
replaced by motorized
electric turntables, which
not only picked up ...
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/au
dio/a16081/video-record-player-needle/
*In order to play the sound
stored on a record, you will
have to spin it at a certain
speed!
*For years, different
manufac...
http://vinylgif.com/53371
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-
projects/project_ideas/Music_p032.shtml#pro
cedure
*Over the open end of your tin can, attach a tightly-
stretched sheet of aluminum foil and secure with a
rubber band
*Tape...
*Remove the aluminum foil from the tin can
*Cut the skinny part off of a latex balloon so
that what’s left is wide and str...
*Roll a piece of paper into a cone as tight as
possible. Through the tip of the cone,
carefully insert a quilting pin and ...
Science of Recorded Music
Science of Recorded Music
Science of Recorded Music
Science of Recorded Music
Science of Recorded Music
Science of Recorded Music
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Science of Recorded Music

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This was a presentation I created for a program at Pasadena Public Library to teach kids about how sound recordings were invented and the history of recording, as well as inspire them and guide them in making their own "gramophone."

Published in: Education
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Science of Recorded Music

  1. 1. Hands-on Science at Pasadena Public Library AnnMarie Hurtado, Librarian August 8, 2015
  2. 2. *Invented by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in France, 1857 *Sound waves were scratched onto a cylinder coated with soot *Used a horn, a stylus (needle) and diaphragm (membrane) to pick up vibrations and scratch them onto the soot http://www.recording- history.org/HTML/musictech1.php
  3. 3. *It used a HUMAN EAR from the skull of a cadaver (dead body) to be the diaphragm vibrating. *Bell attached a stylus to this REAL HUMAN EAR DRUM, to record sound wave vibrations. *The stylus wrote the vibrations as scratches on soot-covered glass. http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php? author=bachman&book=inventors&story=bell
  4. 4. http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=bachman&book=inventors&story=bell
  5. 5. But I’m betting it didn’t smell too good. http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php? author=bachman&book=inventors&story=bell
  6. 6. *Thomas Edison was the first person to hear his own voice played back to him. (Scott’s and Bell’s phonautographs only recorded sound visually.) *His revised phonograph (he revised his invention several times!) used the same cylinder, stylus and diaphragm design, but tinfoil instead of soot for a more permanent and lasting engraving. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph#/media /File:Edison_and_phonograph_edit1.jpg
  7. 7. *Turn a crank to rotate a cylinder while talking into a mouthpiece. The diaphragm and needle scratch your sound waves into the tinfoil cylinder in a spiral groove. *Turn the crank in reverse all the way back to the start. Replace the stylus with something that won’t cut, only vibrate. Now add a horn, and this time when you turn the crank to move the playback stylus along the etched groove, it vibrates the diaphragm in exactly the same way that your voice made it vibrate earlier. Those vibrations are amplified by the horn so you can hear your words. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph
  8. 8. *Each cylinder was expensive and was only large enough to record a few minutes of sound—cylinders had to be replaced often *There was no way to mass- produce the cylinders—each cylinder was unique *Sound quality was okay for recording voices, but way too poor for recording music https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph
  9. 9. *Emil Berliner, a German immigrant, came up with a solution to the problems with Edison’s invention. His gramophone scratched sound in a spiral groove on a rotating disc. The disc could be flipped over to record on the other side. (Cylinders can only record on one side.) Therefore they could record longer sounds. *The discs were louder and had better sound quality than Edison’s tinfoil cylinders, so they could record music. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage? collId=berl&fileName=14050101//berl14050101.db &recNum=3
  10. 10. *Berliner also came up with a solution to the problem of producing copies. Using a process called electroplating, which changes the surface properties of an object using an electrical current, Berliner was able to create a “negative” of a record, with a groove that spiked out instead of being etched in. Then he could use that negative to “stamp” the groove onto a new disc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_recording_an d_reproduction#/media/File:Emile_Berliner_with_p honograph.jpg
  11. 11. *Berliner understood American consumers and their needs a little better than Edison did. He knew that most people were happy to buy a copy of a recording made by someone else, and didn’t feel the need to make their own. *For better or worse, Berliner’s gramophone greatly reduced the need for people to learn to play a musical instrument, because they could enjoy listening to music at home just with the turn of a crank! http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage? collId=berl&fileName=05000003//berl05000003.db &recNum=0&itemLink=r? ammem/berl:@field(NUMBER+@band(berl+0500000
  12. 12. My initial publicity said we were going to make our own “phonograph,” but actually what we will be making is more like a gramophone. We will not be able to record our voices the way that a phonograph could. But we will be able to play the sound stored on a disc the way a gramophone could.
  13. 13. *Eventually Berliner’s hand- cranked gramophones were replaced by motorized electric turntables, which not only picked up the sound through the vibrations of the needle, but converted those vibrations into an electric signal and amplified that signal through stereo speakers. http://www.earbuddy.net/27329/best-albums-for- vinyl.html/columns/a-list-obligatory
  14. 14. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/au dio/a16081/video-record-player-needle/
  15. 15. *In order to play the sound stored on a record, you will have to spin it at a certain speed! *For years, different manufacturers made their records to play at different speeds, though most were played at around 78 rpm (revolutions per minute). *Eventually records were developed to play at 33 1/3 rpm, for 20 minutes on each side. These were called “long- playing” records or LPs. http://www.earbuddy.net/27329/best-albums-for- vinyl.html/columns/a-list-obligatory
  16. 16. http://vinylgif.com/53371
  17. 17. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair- projects/project_ideas/Music_p032.shtml#pro cedure
  18. 18. *Over the open end of your tin can, attach a tightly- stretched sheet of aluminum foil and secure with a rubber band *Tape a quilting pin to the foil so that the pin’s point sticks out *Get a friend to squeeze a pencil through the hole in the center of your record so that the pointy end of the pencil points downward toward the table or floor. This will help you spin your record on a pointy axis. *While your friend spins the record at 33 1/3 rpm, gently scrape the groove of the record with the point of your pin and try to let it be dragged by the spiraling groove.
  19. 19. *Remove the aluminum foil from the tin can *Cut the skinny part off of a latex balloon so that what’s left is wide and stretchy *Stretch the latex over the opening of the tin can and secure with a rubber band *Tape a quilting pin to the latex so that the pin’s point sticks out *While your friend spins the record at 33 1/3 rpm, gently scrape the groove of the record with the point of your pin and try to let it be dragged by the spiraling groove. *Chart the results!
  20. 20. *Roll a piece of paper into a cone as tight as possible. Through the tip of the cone, carefully insert a quilting pin and fasten it there with tape. *While your friend spins the record at 33 1/3 rpm, gently scrape the groove of the record with the point of your pin and try to let it be dragged by the spiraling groove.

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