CSP 64 - Spring 2019

From the Phonograph to Auto-Tune...

Author: amykim1882


The size of the leaf from a manuscript Antiphonary written on parchment reflects how expensive music sheets were in the past. The size was purposefully made big so in instances of church groups, they would only need to look at the one big music sheet instead of all buying each a small one. To preserve this for the future, the book that binds all the manuscripts must be tightly shut because the moisture can cause the individual manuscripts to expand. That is why the manuscripts are all bound by wooden boards with metal bosses. It can be decoded by people who have studied these manuscripts and by those who have learned how musical notations were written in the past, then convert those ways to present ways. Seeing this object in real life makes me understand exactly how big it was for the group to be able to read it. Also, with the original artifact, I can observe the intricate lines that were made with the delicate touches on the music notes. However, compared to its appearance, I was shocked by how sturdy the old music sheet was. Compared to the regular music sheets today, the manuscript is far more decorative with the colors.


If we had a phonograph party today, I feel as if it will not be exciting or as tedious as it was back in the day. The reason why the phonograph was such a success was because the party was mixed with excitement of phonograph and the astonishment of the result. However, if we were to have the same party today, there would be no astonishment or a phonograph, and we will just have an iPhone to record the sounds. Also, there would be no need to keep adjusting the seats to sit further or nearer to the phonograph to modify the sound. It would also be different in a sense that it would all be done electronically and recorded separately and cheaper because it someone makes a mistake, one can just easily delete the recorded sound instead of having to throw away the wax cylinder completely. The theme of preservation of the voices is mainly based on giving comfort by being able to listen to the voices of people who have passed on, or the laughter one finds in the stories of a stranger or someone close. In those cases, the wax cylinder is considered as one’s most prized item if their passed loved one’s voices are recorded in it. However, all we do today is record voices on our phones and tell, text, or post the stories.