Victrola Book of the Opera
The 1919 edition of the Victrola Book of the Opera describes more than 110 operas, and is reproduced here as an interactive digital facsimile. It includes plot synopses and lists of recordings the Victor Talking Machine Company offered in 1919. In addition to reading the original text, you can listen to nearly every recording listed in the book and even compare different interpretations of...
In sound recording, the acoustical era is from the 1890s until 1925. During this time, all sound recordings were made by mechanical means without the use of microphones or electrical amplification.
Making the National Jukebox
It was a long and painstaking process to digitize 10,000 78 rpm records for the National Jukebox. The Making of the National Jukebox offers a look at what was involved.
This curious instrument is a Stroh violin, also known as a Strohviol. It was invented by John Mathias Stroh as a violin for use in recording. The acoustical recording process used in the first quarter of the 20th century favored louder instruments that projected well. Brass instruments such as cornets and trombones generally were picked up clearly by recording horns. Flutes and piccolos also...
The success of the Victor Talking Machine Company is often attributed to its aggressive and comprehensive print advertising campaigns. Its trademark, Nipper the dog listening to "His Master’s Voice," was one of the most recognizable of the twentieth century. Nipper, alone, did not account for the success of Victor's marketing. Victor ads commonly promoted the upper line of its talking machines—Victrolas—as fine musical instruments...
What is a Take?
As in motion pictures, a “take” is each successive attempt at capturing a performance. For example when Billy Murray recorded “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” his first recorded attempt was called “take one” and the next “take two” and so forth.