Here's why I think this is full of shit. If even that old Brahms cylinder thingie from the 1800s has great thumps, bangs, skips, clicks, sizzles and moments of dull silence, then you'd think a clay pot's surface would yield an even greater variety of racket. Instead, what we have is a sort of uniform static sound. From the very small amount of info I could get on this, it's supposed to be the sound of violins, inadvertently recorded in the 1500s while a revolving pot was being decorated with a stylus.
In principle, I guess it could happen. I wonder if anyone has tried it. But that stick would have to vibrate plenty hard to pick up violin sounds. These sound like feeble coyotes on a balmy night, recorded from 100 miles away. In some places, the sounds have a consciously mixed or engineered quality - OK, let's add a little more sound over here or over there to fill it out. Doesn't work for me.
Then again. . . there is that phonoautogram thing, which I swear I thought was a hoax when it first came out. This guy, and I'll be damned if I'll look up his blasted endless French name at this late hour, had this experimental contraption to try to make sound waves visible. It worked. but he never expected the products to be "played back". Such a concept was completely foreign back then. Basically his contraption was a revolving glass drum with a stylus etching lines on sooty paper, and if you yelled into it loud enough. . . The resulting sounds are depressing, and I still think it might be a hoax because people are getting rich off it. To call the small, thin, wobbling fragment of a line from Au Clair de la Lune "the first recorded music" is a joke.
Plenty of musical hoaxes have been perpetrated on a naive and unsupecting public. Years ago, and it's even harder to find any documentation of this, I heard a recording on CBC Radio of "Chopin Playing the Minute Waltz" in about 1875 or something. The host played it over and over again and went on and on about its documentation/authenticity, but after a while he began to waver. This "Chopin" was playing the "Minute" Waltz in one minute, a stupid Liberace stunt (remember the big clock ticking away the seconds?) that has nothing to do with the actual piece. Our announcer began to mutter about Piltdown Man and noticed the CD number was something like: 54321HAHAHA. It came to light that the CD had been included in a special edition of a European classical music magazine, dated . . . April 1. So we were all April fish, after all.
I did find another video with archaeologists who supposedly retrieved the sound of voices conversing in Latin from Roman vases. The voices, displayed on those graph thingies that look so impressive, were frankly ludicrous, far too clear to be plausible. If you watched the video a couple of times, it began to seem less hoax and more satire, a sendup of the earnest pipe-smoking scholars who endlessly drone on about these things. (And by the way, one of the guys WAS holding a pipe that wasn't lit.)
Then there's the infamous Brahms-playing-the-piano recording, which is really shit and which has been discounted EVERYWHERE except on YouTube, where people oooh, ahhh, blubber, pee their drawers, and phone home for the first time in 6 years over the majesty of it. Everything about this recording screams inauthenticity, but musicologists have based entire careers on it, giving lectures where the applause is deafening. The playing is lousy, every chord is crashing and sloppily misplayed, melody nonexistent. It sounds like a drunk in a honky-tonk. It may well be from the same era (unlike that rotten Chopin pasteup), but it's not Brahms, who announces the recording is "by Dr. Brahms" - ? He NEVER identified himself as "Dr.", nor would he say "by" because he didn't speak English! Besides, Brahms' voice was as high as Minnie Mouse's, and the guy on the recording sounds like a lumberjack. I'm not sure how he got that beard, since they didn't have injections back then. So did he have to suck the actual goat?
Petrachus Incadio Rosenberg: Violin recorded in clay on a potter's wheel in approximately 1552, recovered using laser interference technology at the University of Hilversum, 2014, by Prof. Loekasia Von Strabo.
Post-blog regrets. I wish now I'd never listened to this. I do my blogging late at night, for some reason, which I've always wondered about cuz I useda go to bed around 8:30 and get up at 6:00. Now some night-owl urge drives me on, awakened perhaps by the apocalypse I experienced back in 2005 (which I may some day write about, or not). Turned all my cells inside-out, or something. Anyway, I wish I'd never listened to this because even though I KNOW it's a hoax, it's creepy. It's creepy like those old, crappy, bizarre cartoons I posted a while ago, the ones you know almost nothing about - they're just THERE, and came out of nowhere. No one actually drew them. You don't expect them to be that way, so inexplicable. They come from another world. So somebody out there either has a major delusion, is out to make some money, or has made one of the biggest discoveries since the Pokemon trading card. Then why haven't I heard of him before? So now I have to go to sleep after hearing this? Thanks a bunch, von Strabo.
Visit Margaret's Amazon Author Page!
(So NOW, after spending an entire evening puzzling over it,, we find THIS, which is just some new version of Victor Borge/Hoffnung/P. D. Q. Bach. . Bahchh!)