The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project

I came across this site at the weekend

It’s the home page of The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It’s a veritable goldmine of information about late nineteenth and early twentieth century recordings. They also have live streams on a thing called Cylinder Radio, so you can listen to the music (and if you know what you want, almost everything is available for free downloading). I spent a happy hour there, and learned a lot. It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wax cylinder in the flesh, let alone a machine to play them on. They’re smaller than I thought they were – four inches (10cm) tall.

One of the many facts I learned was that the derogatory term ‘canned music’ came from the composer and marching bandleader John Philip Sousa, referring to the fact that the cylinders came in cardboard tubes that looked like baked bean tins.


How about this – a 21st century wax cylinder player. You can stick you iPod


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