Music Technology History

  • Sound travelling distance

    Sound travelling distance
    British inventor Robert Hooke used cups and string to transmit sound over a distance and was the first person recorded to achieve this. Hooke was seen to have laid the groundwork for the invention of the microphone and the telephone.
  • First sound Recorded

    First sound Recorded
    Sound was First recorded by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville using a device he invented which was named the 'phonautograph'. The phonautograph recorded sound waves onto paper or glass which had been blackened by soot or smoke, the recordings which were taken from the device are referred to as phonautograms. The device could measure the amplitude envelopes and also the waveforms of speech and sounds.
  • First Microphone Created

    First Microphone Created
    The first microphone was said to be created by Emile Berliner in the year 1876. Berliner worked with the inventor Thomas Edison, who later patented the telephone.
  • wax cylinder

    wax cylinder
    Before LPs were created out of vinyl the way of playing back recorded sound would be by using a wax cylinder, these would be handcrafted meaning they wouldn't have been widespread.
    You can see the wax cylinder in use here
  • Patent granted to Emile Berlin for the Gramophone

    Patent granted to Emile Berlin for the Gramophone
    German inventor Emile Berlin got the idea for the gramophone patented. The gramophone was later developed and the first few records were made out of glass meaning they were incredibly fragile.
  • Pianola Invented

    Pianola Invented
    The pianola was invented by Edwin S. Votey and is a self-playing piano which works using a pneumatic mechanism, which could be electromechanical instead. Music is programmed using perforated paper which correlates to the notes of a set-piece.
  • Triode Invented

    Triode Invented
    Lee De Forst invented the triode which is defined as an 'amplifying vaccum tube'. The triode has been used as an amplifier for audio and radio signals.
  • Headphones Invented

    Headphones Invented
    Nathaniel Baldwin created the headphones which he called "radio earphones" which were created out of copper wire and a headband. Headphones were then developed throughout the years and the sound-cancelling headphones were invented for studio use and were released in 1989.
  • First Jazz Recording

    First Jazz Recording
    The first jazz recording was by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band; it was recorded for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The recordings were at first seen as a novelty music type however it became an unexpected hit throughout America, which gave America its first jazz record.
  • Optical Sound Recording

    Optical Sound Recording
    Optical sound recording is used most commonly in the film industry. It is a way of storing recordings of sound on transparent film to later be played back.
  • First Modern Electrical Loudspeaker Patented

    First Modern Electrical Loudspeaker Patented
    C. W. Rice developed the modern speaker with his colleague E.W. Kellog. The first working prototype was developed in 1921, this being the first prototype to achieve a crisp sound. The patent was filed in 1925 and the product was sold for $250 which equates to around $3000 in today's currency.
  • Theremin Patented

    Theremin Patented
    Léon Theremin created the instrument which doesn't require a human to play it. the two antennae sense the position of the musician's hands and play a not relative to the position.
    Here is an example of the theremin in use playing the song 'Somewhere Over Te Rainbow'
  • LP

    Before the invention of the LP wax cylinders were used to playback sound, however, the LP was made of vinyl material and meant that they could be commercially produced.
  • Magnetophon invented

    Magnetophon invented
    The Magnetophon was the first magnetic tape recorder. It lead the way for the development into the cassette and the sony cassette player.
  • Compact Cassette Created

    Phillips created the cassette, which is a medium of storing sound recordings in a compact size. The cassette could fit up to 30 minutes of sound onto it. The device was developed in Belgium by a team which was lead by Lou Ottens.
  • First electronic drum created

    First electronic drum created
    Dutch pop drummer Felix Visser modified an 'Acetone electronic rhythm boxes' so that it could be used in a live performance setting instead of it playing a set rhythm like the device was intended to, this could be seen as the start of computerised drums.
  • Sony Released The Walkman

    Sony Released The Walkman
    This device allowed people to take their cassettes on the go away from their stationary systems.
  • Compact Disc Created

    Compact Disc Created
    The compact disc often referred to as a 'CD' was developed by Phillips and Sony. The intended use for the storage format was for storing and playing sound recordings, however, later it was adapted for the use of storing data files.
  • MIDI

    Musical Instrument Digital Interface or MIDI as it is commonly referred to was created by Dave Smith as a solution to synchronise instruments across a uniform interface.
  • First Commercial Digital Synthesiser

    First Commercial Digital Synthesiser
    Yamaha Released the first successful commercial synthesiser which was the DX7, this was a large step as it made synthesisers more available for the public and also bands and recording artists.
  • Apple Markets The Macintosh Computer

    Apple Markets The Macintosh Computer
    The release of the first Macintosh is useful in regards to music tech as Macs are widespread across the industry, from being used in studios to being the device controlling the backing at a band or artists show.
  • Roland Release Octopad

    Roland Release Octopad
    This device was the first sample pad created by Roland and let the user sample MIDI notes to software or control the play and pause functions, meaning the drummer can start and stop the backing tracks needed for a show
    here is an example of a newer sample pad being used in the scenario
  • Apple releases the first IPOD

    Apple releases the first IPOD
    The start of mp3 files being used to listen to music, the iPod was one of the first, following the walkman of ways of portably listening to music and changing the way music is consumed and bought.
  • Spotify Released

    Spotify Released
    Spotify released and changed the way that people consume music, streaming sites became the most common way of listening to music meaning physical sales went down and shops like HMV shut down due to the lack of high street music sales.