How to Interprete Early Recordings? Artefacts and Resonances in Recording and Reproduction of Singing Voices

  • Malte KobEmail author
  • Tobias A. Weege
Part of the Current Research in Systematic Musicology book series (CRSM, volume 5)


Voice recordings in the beginning of the 20th century required a complex acoustic and mechanical set-up for transfer of the singing voice sound from singer via horns, ducts, soundbox and needle to a cylinder or disc. A similar construction was used to reproduce the voice. Both signal paths had significant impact on various properties of the voice signals—mostly the voice signal quality was reduced and distortions were produced. Another effect were changes in details of the voice spectrum due to the interaction of resonances in the voice signal and the transfer paths of recording and reproduction devices. We present analyses of the voice signal modifications and relate them to parts of the devices. This work is funded by the German Research Foundation.



The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG—project number 289601849) for funding this work. As well as the Detmold University of Music and the Paderborn University for the institutional support. Our deep gratitude to George Brock-Nannestad for lending the recording horn replica and for technical advice. The singers Doris Maria Ritter and Boris A. Bolles are acknowledged for the contributions of their voices to the investigations.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Detmold University of MusicDetmoldGermany

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