Sound Recording: The Life Story of a Technology

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JHU Press, Mar 10, 2006 - Music - 215 pages

How did one of the great inventions of the nineteenth century—Thomas Edison's phonograph—eventually lead to one of the most culturally and economically significant technologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? Sound Recording traces the history of the business boom and the cultural revolution that Edison's invention made possible.

Recorded sound has pervaded nearly every facet of modern life—not just popular music, but also mundane office dictation machines, radio and television programs, and even telephone answering machines. Just as styles of music have evolved, so too have the formats through which sound has been captured—from 78s to LPs, LPs to cassette tapes, tapes to CDs, and on to electronic formats. The quest for better sound has certainly driven technological change, but according to David L. Morton, so have business strategies, patent battles, and a host of other factors.

 

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Contents

Birth of Recording
1
Out of the Laboratory
11
The Commercial Debut of Sound Recording Devices
21
The Introduction of Discs
31
Recording in the Business World
43
The Heyday of the Phonograph
55
The Talkies
69
Records and Radio in the United States
81
The Postwar Scene
117
HiFi
129
Revolution in the Studio
141
Mobile Sound
153
Cassette to Compact Disc
167
Record Companies versus the World
175
Online Music and the Future of Listening
187
Glossary
197

The Crucial 1930s
91
Recording in World War II
103

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About the author (2006)

David L. Morton Jr. is a historian of technology with expertise in the history of sound recording, electronics, and electric power. He is the former research historian for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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