Recordings At Challenger Deep

GHOAudio, Environment, Science

blue jellyfish

Challenger Deep sits at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, roughly 36,000 feet below sea level. While no light reaches those depths, sound travels very well there. Bob Dziak, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), recently lead a team that designed and built a special hydrophone that could withstand the immense pressure seven miles below the … Read More

Music of Trees

GHOAudio, Environment, Sound Art


I used to work for a man who was passionate about poetry. He liked the musicality of language, the interplay of sound and meaning, and we would discuss the similarities between literature and music (I worked at a bookstore). He was playful, ebullient, and had a buzz saw wit. It caught me by surprise, one day, when he told me … Read More

Pictures of Sound

GHOAudio, Books, Digitization, Music


A definition of recorded sound seems fairly straightforward: a capture of sound waves over a period of time that can be played back and listened to. In his 2012 book, Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980, Patrick Feaster challenges this definition, arguing that the only necessary condition for a document to be a sound recording is … Read More

Sound and Vision

GHOAudio, Preservation


In 1860, 17 years before Thomas Edison first recorded himself on tinfoil, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville recorded himself singing a snippet of “Au Clair de la Lune” on a device he called a phonautograph, a rudimentary approximation of the anatomy of the human ear. In a May 19, 2014 New Yorker article titled, “A Voice from the Past,” Alec Wilkinson … Read More

An Analog Past to a Digital Future

GHOAudio, Copyright, Digitization, Music

Talking Phonograph

Music is a fundamental form of human communication, and it has existed in some form or another in every culture and in every time period of human history. Unfortunately, the formats used to record music are deteriorating, and culturally and historically valuable musical recordings are being lost forever. There is, however, no way of knowing how many musical recordings have … Read More

The Challenges of Audio Digitization

GHOAudio, Collections, Digitization


It is important to preserve audio collections and make them accessible because they contain valuable information not communicated by books and images. As concerns oral histories, Stevens & Latham (2009) write: “The human voice, with all its intonation, inflection, and emotion, can convey so much more than the written page. Books teach about the past; oral histories give it voice” … Read More