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Respecting the Sound - From Aural Event to Ear Stimulus

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Graphical or real-time interactive analysis of recorded sound occurred at least 20 years before the invention of reproducible sound in 1877. Scientifically reproduced sound quickly found its way into phonetics and musicology. Early commercial sound recording for entertainment retained an aura of reproduction of a real sound event and prescribed certain calibration features. After commercial success was ensured, manipulation techniques were developed and refined, and the later analogue years demonstrated imaginative thinking that came to a climax when fast digital technology enabled satisfactory signals that only contained what the ear requires, and no more. The dissociation from the total real sound was complete. The paper provides a balanced, well-documented historical overview of the techniques and their consequences.

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