Listen to Select Recordings of These Titles
The University of California at Santa Barbara hosts the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive. Before MP3s, CDs, cassettes, and vinyl records, people listened to … cylinders. First made of tinfoil, then wax and plastic, cylinder recordings, commonly the size and shape of a soda can, were the first commercially produced sound recordings in the decades around the turn of the 20th century.
The UCSB Library, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Grammy Foundation, and donors, has created a digital collection of more than 10,000 cylinder recordings held by the Department of Special Collections. To bring these recordings to a wider audience, the Library makes them available to download or stream online for free.
This searchable database features all types of recordings made from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, including popular songs, vaudeville acts, classical and operatic music, comedic monologues, ethnic and foreign recordings, speeches, and readings.