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For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words ‚ÄúMary had a little lamb‚ÄĚ on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison‚Äôs invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.
The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song ‚ÄúAu Clair de la Lune‚ÄĚ was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable ‚ÄĒ converted from squiggles on paper to sound ‚ÄĒ by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif....
"...In fact, Edison arrived at his advances on his own. There is no evidence that Edison drew on knowledge of Scott‚Äôs work to create his phonograph, and he retains the distinction of being the first to reproduce sound."
'‚ÄúEdison is not diminished whatsoever by this discovery,‚ÄĚ Mr. Giovannoni said.'