Interview with Art Shifrin, February 8, 1999

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:09 - VidiPax Museum of A/V Technology

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Partial Transcript: And this is being recorded on-----(??) this is Monday, February 8th, 1999.

Segment Synopsis: Art Shifrin introduces the interviewer to a collection of early recording machines and technology. He talks about German contributions to the development of magnetic tape recording technology.

Keywords: Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG); Capstan; Farben, I. G.; Webster Chicago Electronic Memory Wire Recorder; Wire recorders

Subjects: Anschutz Entertainment Group; BASF Aktiengesellschaft; General Electric Company.; History of science and technology; Magnetic tapes.; Music; RCA Corporation; Record labels.; Sound recording in--History; Sound recording industry; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Western Electric Company.

00:07:35 - Technical elements in professional sound recording history

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Partial Transcript: Uh, well, in any event, so, all this stuff is, i, is part of that--these evolutionary steps of leading up to commercial tape recording.

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about the development of commercial recording technology that was associated with radio show broadcasts in the 1940s. He talks about the evolutionary stages of audio recording technology, including multi-track recording. He also discusses audio recording in conjunction with film recording.

Keywords: Bing Crosby Show; Fantasound; Film recording; Magnetophone; Multichannel recording; Multitrack recording; Solid state electronics; Stereophonic recording; Tape recording

Subjects: Fantasia.; Gershwin, George, 1898-1937.; History of science and technology; Music; Philco Radio and Television Corp.; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977.

00:21:40 - Technical considerations in recording sound

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Partial Transcript: Hey, that's it. I mean, there is no, kind of--I mean--you're gonna--you talk to two different audiophiles and you'll maybe come up with two different ultimate correct appropriate sounds.

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about technical challenges of sound recordings and the technological developments designed to meet those challenges.

Keywords: Dictaphone; Multitrack recording; National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (NARTB); Videotape

Subjects: Ampex Corporation; History of science and technology; Music; RCA Corporation; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Western Electric Company.

00:33:36 - Review of recording machines and technology

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Partial Transcript: Do you have one of those old dictaphone machines?

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about the various types of audio recording technology in the context of machines in the museum incorporating that technology. He talks about the transition from film recording to videotape recording for recording images with sound.

Keywords: Analog recording; Audio recording; Dictaphone; Digital recording; Video recording

Subjects: Ampex Corporation; History of science and technology; Music; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

00:43:10 - Recollections of Raymond Scott

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Partial Transcript: First of all, tell me just briefly again about Raymond Scott.

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about his recollections of musician and sound engineer Raymond Scott.

Keywords: "Powerhouse"; CBS Records; Friedman, Sam; Miller,Glenn; National Broadcast Company (NBC); Sony; Stallings, Carl; Universal Recording; Warnow, Harry; Warnow, Mark

Subjects: History of science and technology; Music; Record labels.; Scott, Raymond, 1908-1994; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

00:52:00 - Sound recordings before Thomas Edison

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Partial Transcript: When we turned the tape on you were going to tell me a story and we got--

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about the phonautogram, the earliest form of sound recording in 1859 which involved an oscillographic recording on paper. He explains that this process merely recorded sound graphically, and did not include a means of playing back the recording. He talks about later sound recording technologies developed by Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.

Keywords: Magnetic recording; Optical recording; Oscillographic recording; Phonautogram; Selenium; de Martinville, Edouard-Leon Scott

Subjects: Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922.; Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931.; History of science and technology; Music; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

01:02:02 - Edison's kinetophone recordings

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Partial Transcript: Well, Edison--you know, my boyfriend's English.

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about his development of a new player for antique cylindrical records, and his research into kinetophone records. He talks about his discovery of rare blue celluloid cylindrical records in a Swedish archive which led to a research breakthrough on sync-sound films.

Keywords: "Gospel of Wealth"; Cylinder records; Peep show machines; Phonokinetoscope; Princeton Project

Subjects: Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919.; Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931.; Fields, W. C. (William Claude), 1880-1946.; History of science and technology; Jolson, Al, 1886-1950.; Kinetophone.; Music; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Swan, Joseph Wilson, 1828-1914; Tucker, Sophie, 1884-1966

01:14:59 - Multiple track recording / sound recording on film

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Partial Transcript: Now, so, so this is, uh--you were saying earlier, and pardon me if I'm asking you to repeat stuff--

Segment Synopsis: Shifrin talks about the parallel developments of audio and video recording as well as multi-track recording.

Keywords: Case, Theodore; Fantasound; Fox, William; Multi-track recording; Multitrack recording; Shearer, Douglas

Subjects: History of science and technology; Music; Record labels.; Shearer, Norma, 1902-1983; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Western Electric Company.; Westrex (Firm)