Without music you hardly can dance. And not everyone has a band or musicians available. In the course of time, attempts have been made to record music and display it, without the intervention of musicians again. Vending machines, tapes, CDs... an evolution that is not stationary, but it creates more and more opportunities.

Automatons and (vending) machines for audio recording and playback

As early as 1206 described Al- Jazari in his "Book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices" ​​ a boat he made with four robots that played flute, harp and two drums to entertain imperial guests. Rotating drum with pins made ​​ the sound of the programmable automaton.

The carillon, an automatic chimes was developed since the 15th century in the Netherlands. The blows of the hammers are controlled by pins on a rotating drum. The order of the display is determined by the location of the pins. Spring drive and the roller with pegs were also the basis for automatic music or the musical box, which in the 19th century became increasingly improved.

opnameapparaatFrom the 17th century a lot of music machines are known. Already in 1610 makes goldsmith Achilles Langenbucher "of themselves playing musical instruments which also danced moving figures."
Also dating from the 17th century are mechanical organs and spinets. With a clever placement of the pegs it was possible to run more than one piece of music on a roll. Via a lever the melody was changed.
The French engineer Jacques de Vaucanson in 1738 placed the pins in a spiral on a "long play roll". He constructed an automatic flute player who could perform twelve songs. You saw a humanoid figure, the air flow going from the mouth through the flute and fingers that really "played". Friedrich von Knauss from Darmstadt constructed the first writing machine. The Frenchman Maillardet created an organ played by a female doll, which had eighteen songs in her repertoire. An artistic lady who could bend, play, moving eyes, breathe... Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed in 1770, the "chess-playing Turk".

Only in the 18th century music machines appeared in civil society. The Swiss watch industry brought little music boxes in circulation. Haydn wrote 32 pieces for a music machine. Mozart did this to satisfy debts. It bothered him that he had to take satisfaction with a denatured surrogate sound. Beethoven wrote his opus 91 "Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria" for a truly gigantic musical automaton, which was constructed by the inventor of the metronome, Johannes Nepomuk Mälzel. Because the mechanic promised the deaf becoming Beethoven the construction of a "horn machine" (to hear better), he wrote this with pleasure. In 1813 the "Panharmonikon" or "Panmelodikon" was ready. The unit had 37 flutes, 36 oboes, 38 clarinets, 16 bassoons, eight trumpets, three horns, one bass drum, two set of basins, one triangle, two timpani and 1 snare drum. Mälzel sold it later in Paris to Napoleon.

With cheap barrel organs war invalids were begging for alms. The mechanical musical instrument was for long the only way to save fleeting sound for eternity.
Only in the 19th century the technique of the punched tin plates and paper strips for the "mechanic piano" (pianola, Phonola) made it possible to save also the pace.
It was known that sound was a moving wave. If it was possible to record the wave motion, one had relied on an indelible image of the musical work. The first who successfully captured sound writing was Leon Scott. With him the history of music recording begins.

Johnny: "I wish I lived in the Middle Ages." "Why?" "Then I did not have to learn so much history."


In 1877 Edison invented the phonograph. Yet there was only in 1917 the 1st recording, a jazz recording. The apparatus consisted among others of a wax cylinder and a steel needle. With this sounds could be recorded and played back again. The needles and resin types became better and harder. A number of cylindrical mechanical tools have been developed, but the production of the flat plate by Berliner was the real breakthrough. The Berliner plate could be easily produced and then became increasingly popular in the early 20th century.
After the Second World War (during the war was especially radio important) more and more people could afford to buy music devices.

In this time, the vinyl record was developed. Until the late 50s all the music was just listened in mono. In 1958, the first stereo (two- sided sound) record was made.
1877 Emile Berliner invented the first microphone. Many early developments in the design of the microphone took place at Bell Laboratories.
A speaker is a device that allows electrical signals to be converted into sound. Bell worked as early as 1875 on it. But only with the advent of new and light plastics development went fast forward. Good boxes now contain mostly separate and distinct speakers for low, mid and high tones.

Tape recorder

Already in 1898 could sound be recorded on a wire by magnetism. With a very poor quality. After 1935, the German industry developed useful tapes. After the war, the technology shipped to America, and was after - developed.
In 1963 the Dutch company Philips marketed the audio cassette. Those magnetic recording tapes made it possible to cut and paste. That was days of work in the studio! For small bands came also portable players such as the Sony Walkman.


In 1895, Tesla and Marconi were far enough to transmit and receive electrical signals over miles. The bridged distances were increasing, from England to France (1899), then to America (1901). First it was with Morse code, after 1906 also narration. With the advent of the transistor (1947), the equipment was getting smaller and cheaper. Also for the development of aviation (WWI), the radio was important. In 1919 in The Hague the world's first broadcasting station was launched. In 1933 the first radio was built into a car.

"Radio is a blissful invention. When I turn the knob: what a sensation. That amazing, intense, deep silence... " (Colette)

Sound quality

In 1952 Saul Marantz (NY) built the first successful preamplifier that greatly improved music quality. In 1957 Model 7c could display fine stereo. HiFi (High Fidelity) refers to the quality of the music playback. Enthusiasts put their own chains together from separate radio, record player, amplifiers, speakers...

Already in 1940, had Disney three channel sound in the film Fantasia. In the 70s quadraphonic sound followed. Dolby made ​​it popular in the 80s for film and video.

Digital recording and playback

In the eighties of the last century, the CD was launched. A much better sound and the ability to play by separate song, made this a huge success! With all the new digital forms that are developed today such as MP3 and Super Audio CD, the music industry is again entered a new era in which every consumer can be also manufacturer and distributor.

YouTube is a website with free upload, view and share video clips by users. The motto of the website YouTube Broadcast Yourself. The uploader can give the film tags (keywords, labels) that allow a non - hierarchical classification (folksonomy). The site was founded in February 2005 and currently owned by Google Inc..

"Internet: the largest web in the world, many have already be caught.. " (Leo De Haas)
" Information from the Internet is like picking a drink from the fire hydrant. " (Mitch Čápor)