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Analogous

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Analogous

The miracle of recorded sound never ceases to amaze me.  All that information packed into a physical analog smaller than a human hair.

 

Beyond the miracle, though, when all the elements line up, from the performance, the recording technology, and the recordist to final playback 125 years later, it's a thing of beauty. 

 

This ca. 1893 cylinder is a case in point.  It's one of those records that rewards me for the years I put into developing CPS1 and vTrace cartridges.  So I thought I'd share it with the community.

 

Enjoy!

 

John

 

USMB - Washington Post March - 125.2 - 1093 restore.mp3

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RodPickett

Amazing clarity.

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Tinfoilphono

Wow -- that's amazing. And what a wonderful announcement!

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phonogfp

Don't we wish all our brown wax sounded like that?!

 

I love the sound just before and immediately after the announcement, where the machine was stopped for the individual announcement, then restarted for the ensemble performance.  An what an announcement!

 

George P.

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fonotone

Unbelievable, John.  Thank you.

-- Grant

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Mainspring

Great rendition.

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MikeSherman

Thank you John.  That was a treat.

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RichardLee

John. I am a recently retired elementary school band director. Thanks for the awesome, historical Sousa!

Rick

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sousaband

The Washington Post march was written in 1889 by Sousa for the Washington Post newspaper. The occasion was an essay contest for children. The ceremony occurred on June 15, 1889 and attended by then President Benjamin Harrison. At the time Sousa was the leader of US Marine Band, which was gaining fame for being a band of superior quality. Next to the Stars and Stripes Forever, it is Sousa’s most well known march. It was propelled to international fame by dance instructors in Washington DC who used it to introduce a new dance, the two-step.

 

This recording is certainly one of the finest of it’s age. If you listen carefully you’ll hear some great stuff. For instance, at approximately 1:24 you’ll hear some poor trombonist play a tremendous clam (wrong note and not all that uncommon in early recordings). Notice too how the instruments actually sound like they are in different parts of the room. Something you wouldn’t even think was possible to hear in such an early recording. And if you close your eyes you can actually hear the room that they are in. Simply amazing!

 

It has taken over 125 years to finally hear what these magnificent early recordings really contain. Thanks John!

 

Dan

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RodPickett

I too noticed the "sour note".  Something that would never be allowed on a recording today.

 

 

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RodPickett

President Benjamin Harrison, whose home and museum remain in Indianapolis, was the first sitting U. S. President to have his voice recorded.  The recording was made by Bettini and many years ago the museum sold cassette tapes that included, among other things, Harrison’s voice, supposedly.  I have a audio-clip somewhere, if I could only find it.

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Valecnik

Wonderful!  Could you also post some pictures of the cylinder?

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Fran604g

That sounds amazing, thank you John. Can you imagine playing your horn for each "take" for hours and days, until your lips bled? Ouch.

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Analogous

This is one of the reasons the "era before manufactured records" is so interesting.  I have four copies of Edison 85, Selections from Robin Hood.  Three of them have entirely different announcers, tempos and recording speeds.

 

These things are record catalogers'/archivists' nightmares as they have no "release date" as we know it.  As Fran says, they are undated takes, recorded over a period of years!

 

Dan pointed out the trombonist who conspicuously hits a wrong note.  Examples of this abound and it's common to hear bands that prized themselves on their precision (like USMB and Issler's Orchestra) where the musicians are off their mark, probably exhausted after playing the same tune over and over.  I equate it to my childhood when one was supposed to avoid buying cars that rolled off the assembly lines on Friday afternoon.

 

Valecnik asked to see a photo of the cylinder.  The "record taken for" part of the announcement suggests it's on the early side, but since the cylinder isn't channel rimmed and has no room at the beginning (bottom) for a paper ring, I'm guessing it was recorded in 1893, perhaps 1894.

 

More and more about less and less!

 

John

IMG_2733.thumb.JPG.1adfa90ce3f9690e4128c893799a291b.JPG

 

 

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sousaband

As John pointed out, playing or singing over and over again was a labor intensive process. There are several "end of day" cylinders in my collection and I like them just as much as the "perfect" takes. When thinking about this record, you have to remember that the USMB members in this session they may have played their everyday duties prior to going into the recording session.

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