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Sound Recordings

Do we really hear everything that is conveyed in oral communication? These activities have been designed to teach students how to critically listen to auditory information.

Directions: Listen to one of the audio recordings below by clicking on the number. Use the Listening Guide to describe what you hear.

Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

Corinne Roosevelt Robinson (top left), 1861-1933.

Shivering and Shaking

CREATED/PUBLISHED Boston: White, Smith & Co., 1878.

Sidney Robertson Cowell

Sidney Robertson Cowell copying California Folk Music recordings for the Library of Congress.

1 2 3
Safeguard America! Shivering and Shaking Out in the Cold

Old Sam Finley Had a Pig

Mrs. Corinne Roosevelt Robinson by Sam Lucas, David Arbury, soloist Mrs. Byron Coffin, Sr., performer
American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election, 1918-1920 Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885 California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties

arkansas traveller

Arkansas Traveller: scene in the back woods of Arkansas; Currier & Ives, 1870.

Thomas Edison

Photograph of Thomas A. Edison listening to the new Edison Diamond Disc phonograph.

Charles L. Todd

Charles L. Todd prepares to record using the Presto disc recorder, California, 1941.

4 5 6
The Arkansas Traveler (Descriptive Scene) The Aba Daba Honeymoon Runnin' Stewball
Performed and recorded in 1922 by Steve Porter and Ernest Hare Words and music by Fields and Donovan performed by Collins and Harlan Performer: Vester Whitworth Zelmer Ward, guitar

The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920

Background information on this image

Inventing Entertainment: The Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941

children playing

Children playing "ring around a rosie" in one of the better neighborhoods of the Black Belt, Chicago, Illinois.

indian dance

Dancing to Wax Cylinder Recordings

cattle roping

Buckaroo Myron Smart roping cattle, Ninety-Six Ranch

7 8 9
Ring Round Rosey Buffalo Dance Buckaroos Then and Now
Performed by a group of children Performers: James Walker and Rufus White Narrator: Leslie J. Stewart; Carol Fleischhauer and William A. Wilson, interviewers.

Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

Omaha Indian Music

Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982


Acoustic Recording - a record made with a diaphragm and needle powered only by the force of a voice.

Dialect - a regional variety of a language differing from the standard language.

Diamond Disc - a heat resistant disc that required a diamond stylus to play the recording.

Gramophone - an antique record player; the sound of the vibrating needle is amplified acoustically.

Instrumental Music - composed for or performed on a musical instrument.

Minstrel - a singer of verses accompanied by music.

Phonograph - an instrument that reproduces sounded recorded on a grooved disk.

Presto Disc Recorder - a recorder that used a stylus to engrave tracks into acetate coated discs. It weighed eighty pounds and was used to make the recordings found in Voices of the Dust Bowl.

Rube - an awkward, unsophisticated person from a rural area; rustic.

Slang - an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed of invented words, changed words, and exaggerated or humorous figures of speech.

Sketch - a short comedy piece.

Song - a short piece of music with words intended to be sung; the act or art of singing.

Speech - the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words.

Vocal Music - composed or arranged for or sung by the human voice.

Updated March 11, 2017
© 1996 - 2011 Linda C. Joseph
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