If you stop to think about it, the recording technological music milestones of our lifetime are nothing short of incredible. Check out these Free Resources About the Inventions of Phonographs, MP3s, and More for a brief history of technology and music.
This post is part of the History of Inventions Series
Before technology, we made music in its most basic form. Sounds and rhythms came naturally, I think. I know the Lord saw them as good.
As a matter of fact, the very longest book of the Bible is a book of song – the Book of Psalms. From the poetic Song of Solomon, the song lyrics recorded in the book of Revelation (Chapters 5,7,15), and the accounts in Ephesians 5:19 of the church “making melody to the Lord with their (your) heart,” we can see that sound and music was clearly something God wanted us to know about.
It would be no surprise that humans, made in His likeness, would want to advance in their knowledge and understanding of music, how it’s made, find more ways to hear it, and how to make it even better.
Man’s very first advance in modern technology and music came way back in 1877 through the invention of the phonograph totally by fluke.
1877: Invention of the Phonograph
Thomas Edison noticed accidentally that by running indented tin foil under the telegraph stylus, he heard a speech-like noise.
By the end of that year, he had Marry Had a Little Lamb jamming in the first working phonograph. Thomas Edison officially became the very first inventor to record the human voice.
Although the “graphophone” invention followed, Thomas Edison came back with the improved phonograph using a battery-driven motor – no more crank up.
Phonograph Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
1890s: The Nickel Jukebox Invention
We have all seen them in the movies, but did you know that jukeboxes were one of the only products that actually survived the economic crisis of the times, although it went from 30 different franchises to literally only one – Columbia Graphophone Company (sound familiar?).
1920: Mass Production of Commercial Radios
The cylinder methods of recorded music evolved, and disc technology was birthed (1906). Then a radio station in Pittsburg began the very first commercial radio station, which boomed.
1943: Invention of Vinyl Records Soared
Discs were way too fragile, and so the new vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) option became the choice method of hearing music well into World War II.
History of Vinyl Records – Complete with a Timeline and Fun Facts | Always the Holidays
1964: Cassettes Get Into the Mainstream
Remember cassettes? ME either – kidding. Although cassettes were created in 1930, they didn’t gain traction until 1964.
Audio Cassette Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
1966: The 8-Track
The 8-track briefly emerged on the scene with higher quality sound than cassette tapes.
1980s: Compact Disc (CD)
Its convenience and size pushed the vinyl records to the side and created the most explosive surge in the history of recorded audio.
Compact Disc (CD) Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
History of the CD | BBC
(FREE PDF) Compact Disks: What, Why and How | ResearchGate
1990: MP3 was Invented
The MP3 was a combination of digital audio and the internet. Mind is blown! It shortly became a phenomenon. It was now possible to transfer music from one device (computer) to another without compromising the quality of sound.
MP3 Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
Timeline-MP3 | Museum of Portable Sound
The History of MP3 Technology | ThoughtCo.
1995: Internet Audio Streaming
Show’s over. Recorded music can now be obtained, transferred, and captured for life via a computer and internet.
Who knows what the next music recording device will be? Who knows how we will listen to music next or how it will look in the future? Until then, learning about these cool inventions is enough to leave us in awe.
Explore these free resources about the inventions of phonographs, mp3s, and more to encourage an appreciation of music history inventions in your home.
A Brief History of Sound Recording | Calssical-Music.com
An Audio Timeline | Audio Engineering Society (AES)
Brief History of Sound Recording | Sound Recording History
Sound Recording Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
History of the Sound Recording Technology FREE Download | Academia.edu
History of Sound Recording Technology | RecordingHistory.org
FREE Lesson Plan: The History of Audio Formats | Color in my Piano
Videos about recorded music options through history:
How do Radios Work? | Concerning Reality
MP3 Questions : How Does an MP3 Player Work? |eHow Tech
How Record Players Work | Vinyl Eyezz
Exploring a Reel to Reel Tape Recorder: Sony TC-366 | Technology Connections
Mono vs Stereo Sound | French Toast Philip
How does a CD work? (AKIO TV) | AKIO TV
History of Recorded Sound | George Pollen
The History of Recorded Music | Musical-U.com
Both in the New and Old Testament, music is addressed and strongly supported by those who reverence the Lord. The amount of music mentioned in God’s Word indicates its importance in His kingdom and the need for us to creatively express ourselves through music.
If your child shows a passion for music, ensure you teach them about its origins, its history, the precautions to take with it, and mostly how to use it to glorify His holy Name.
100 Bible Verses about Music | Open Bible
What Does the Bible Say About Music? | Got Questions
Music is clearly a way of expression and communication in the Bible, so I leave you with this verse for kids to learn during your invention-of-recorded-music history lesson:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Create an entire inventors unit in your home with the resources below:
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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