NOTE: There are many sound files on this page. Depending on your connection speed, there could be a delay before they are ready to play. Please be patient.


As a virtual listening gallery and museum for sound, Radio Nouspace is inspired by the legacy radio culture and medium with its emphasis on sound(s) consciously curated and broadcast as related knowledge modalities (i.e. programs) for the purpose of interpreting and distributing information to a broad public. This inquiry explores early recordings, broadcasts, and other interesting sonic events.

1853/4-1860: Earliest Known Sound Recording

The earliest known sound recording was made by Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, a French typesetter and sometimes inventor. One of his inventions was the phonoautograph, a device to visualize sound. Scott built a funnel that directed sound to a diaphragm connected to a stiff bristle. As a lamp-soot blackened paper cylinder was turned by a hand crank under the bristle, a representation of the sound was inscribed in the soot. Scott designed his phonoautograph (sound writing) to visualize, not reproduce, sound. Scott sold several phonoautographs for sound research, but did not profit from his invention. In 2008, using specially-designed computer software, researchers lead by Carl Haber, at California's Berkeley Lab, reproduced the sounds recorded on one of Scott's paper rolls. What they heard was a high-pitched, child-like voice singing the first lines of "Au Clair de la Lune [By the Light of the Moon]," a French folk song dating to at least the mid-18th Century . . .
Au clair de la lune [In the light of the moon]
Mon ami Pierrot [Pierrot, my friend]
próte moi . . .

Some say the voice is Scott's, altered in pitch because the playback is at a higher speed than the original recording. Others say it belongs to a child, perhaps a woman. In either case, what it lacks in length (a brief eleven seconds), the earliest known sound recording of a human voice makes up with its ethereal, haunting quality.

Wilkinson, Alec. A Voice from the Past: How A Physicist Resurrected the Earliest Recordings. The New Yorker 19 May 2014.

First Sounds. A collaborative of audio historians, recording engineers, curators, technicians, scientists, and other experts, "dedicated to making humanity's earliest sound recordings available to all people for all time."

1878: Earliest Playable Recording

The earliest playable recording of human voice and the first recording of a musical performance were both demonstrated 22 June 1878, in St. Louis, Missouri, using an Edison phonograph. Thomas Edison, in 1877, invented the phonograph, which used a funnel to direct sound to a stylus that recorded sound waves on tinfoil attached to a cylinder revolving beneath the stylus. When a recording was made, the operator used a hand crank to turn the cylinder again. The stylus converted the inscriptions on the tinfoil back into sound waves. Edison sold a tinfoil phonograph, serial number 8, to Thomas Mason, a St. Louis newspaper political writer, who, under his pen name I. X. Peck, offered a public phonograph program on 22 June, 1878. For his demonstration, Mason used a sheet of tinfoil, 5 inches wide by 15 inches long, placed on the phonograph's cylinder. He used a hand crank to turn the cylinder under the stylus. The demonstration begins with a series of clicks, the result of scars where the tinfoil was folded for more than a century. Next is heard a 23-second coronet solo of an unidentified song. Then, a man's voice (believed to be Mason) recites
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

Mason laughs, and then recites the opening of "Old Mother Hubbard" incorrectly. He laughs again, and says, "Look at me; I don't now the song." Some have suggested the higher pitched voice in this segment is that of a woman, but more likely it is a result of the tinfoil cylinder rotating too slowly.

Typically, the stylus would tear the tinfoil after only a few playings. As a result, only a handful of these tinfoil recording survive. Physicist Carl Haber and other researchers at California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scanned the tinfoil to create a 3D replication of the grooves, which were then analyzed by computer to recover the original sound.

Credit for the first recording on a phonograph is sometimes given to Frank Lambert's "The Experimental Talking Clock" (1878). The recording is divided into four parts. The first part (twenty one seconds) is indistinguishable speech. The second part (eleven seconds) is Lambert clearly calling out the hours. The third part is thirty six seconds of silence. The fourth, and final, part is twenty nine seconds of voiced but illegible sound. Apparently, Lambert cranked the phonograph in reverse, creating the first recording of a human voice played backwards. Have a listen.

In 1878, Edison was commissioned to study noise from the Metropolitan Elevated Railroad (MERR) in Manhattan. He had Charles Batchelor retrofit a phonograph to trace waves on lamp-blacked paper. Learn more and read Batchelor's laboratory notes.

Edison said, in a New York Herald interview, "the principle [of the phonautograph] is the invention of Leon Scott, of France. . . . By the additions which I have attached for this purpose we are enabled not only to record all the sounds but to analyze each particular sound and tell the working condition of every section of a railroad." Nineteen MERR recordings survive at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey. Here is a sample.

1881-1885: Volta Laboratory Associates Experiments

The Volta Laboratory Associates, funded by Alexander Graham Bell and directed by Charles Sumner Tainter, competing against Thomas Edison, experimented with sound recording and playback 1881-1885. Several surviving discs featuring recorded voices anticipate the grammophone disc of Emile Berliner, patented in November 1887, itself the ancestor of phonograph records so well know in the twentieth century.

Learn more and listen at the First Sounds website.

1888: Earliest Known Recording of a Public Musical Event

The earliest known recording of a public musical event outside a recording studio, a "field recording," may be "Israel in Egypt," recorded at The Crystal Palace, 29 June 1888 by Col. George E. Gouraud. The choir and orchestra are barely audible above the scratchy noise of the wax cylinder on which the recording was made, but they can be heard, like ethereal ghosts from more than a century ago. This excerpt is from Cylinder 1, "Moses and the Children of Israel," the chorus at the start of part II.

Built in 1851 (destroyed by fire in 1936) of cast iron and more than one million feet of glass, The Crystal Palace provided 990,000 square feet for exhibitions, concerts, and other public events in London, England. On Friday, 29 June 1888, during the Ninth Triennial Handel Festival (an event celebrated since 1784), a 4,000-person choir, accompanied by a 500-piece orchestra conducted by Sir August Manns, performed "Israel in Egypt," a three-part biblical oratorio by George Frideric Handel for an audience of 23,722 people. Edison Phonograph Company London sales agent, Col. George E. Gouraud, placed a phonograph more than 100 yards (more than 30 meters) from the singers, in the Press Gallery, to demonstrate the recording abilities of this new machine. Several yellow paraffin wax cylinder recordings were made, each about two minutes in length. Only three are known to survive.

1900: First Radio Broadcast?

The first successful radio transmission of speech may have been on 23 December 1900 by Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932), a Canadian inventor known for his pioneering experiments with radio, while working for the United States Weather Bureau at Rock Point, Maryland. Fessenden successfully transmitted a few words a distance of about one mile. Despite the lack of clarity, Fessenden's experiment proved that voice could be transmitted via radio waves. Although not recorded, here is how Fessenden's first wireless radio broadcast might have sounded . . .
Hello, test.
1, 2, 3, 4.
Is it snowing where you are Mr. Beaman?
If it is, telegraph back and let me know.

In January 1906, Fessenden achieved the first two-way transatlantic transmission by exchanging Morse code messages between a station at Brant Rock, Massachusetts, and another at Machrihanish, Scotland. Both featured transmitters designed by Fessenden. On 21 December, Fessenden demonstrated the ability of his new transmitter at Brant Rock to broadcast voice and audio recordings, which were received about ten miles distant in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He documented and reported these tests, but made no mention of any upcoming tests or broadcasts.

Twenty-five years later, a few months before he died, Fessenden claimed to have transmitted a short entertainment program on Christmas Eve and again on New Year's Eve 1906 from Brant Rock. In a 29 January 1932 letter to former associate and then Vice President of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, Samuel M. Kinter, Fessenden provided details about the alleged broadcasts. The Christmas Eve program began, he said, with his explaining what would be heard. Next was an Edison cylinder recording of a woman singing George Frideric Handel's "Largo." Then Fessendon playing a violin solo of Adolphe C. Adam's "O Holy Night," singing one verse of "Adore and Be Still," reading a short Bible passage ("Glory to God in the highest and on earth peach to men of good will"; Gospel of Luke 2:14), and then closing with holiday wishes and an announcement of his intention to broadcast a similar program on 31 December, New Year's Eve, which was slightly different. Fessenden asked any listeners to write about where they heard the transmission and its quality.

Neither broadcast was recorded, but they might have sounded like this.

Other than Fessenden's letter, there are no known accounts from ship's logs, contemporary literature, or press reports of the two broadcast demonstrations. Susan Douglas, the leading historian of United States legacy radio, says there is no evidence that Fessenden broadcast these two programs as he claimed. [1] Eight years after his death, Fessenden's wife, Helen, published a biography of her husband and included a copy of Fessenden's letter to Kinter. [2] This, apparently, is the source for claims that Fessenden's alleged 1906 Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve broadcasts were the first to include speech and music. There is strong evidence, however, that Fessenden experimented with broadcasting speech and music in 1907, so it is possible he confused the dates in his letter to Kinter.

Even this work might be too late to claim first place, however. Lee De Forest (1873-1961) claims in his 1950 biography, Father of Radio, that he was transmitting speech and music early in 1907. His claim is supported by press reports and logs from radio listeners as early as March 1907. A single report of hearing Fessenden's broadcast is dated 11 February 1908. [3] Newspaper articles from December 1909 describe long-range experiments between Brant Rock and United States Naval vessels traveling the United States East Coast. The object was for the transmitter station and ships to stay in touch with each other as long as possible. It is possible that Fessenden planned and conducted his Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve broadcasts in December 1909, three years after he claimed in his letter to Kinter. [4]

True or not, Fessenden's claim for the first broadcasts of speech and music via radio waves is colorful and sets the stage for what was, by 1909, the regular broadcast of speech and music via radio waves. For example, Charles "Doc" Herrold, a professor in the College of Engineering and Wireless, San Jose, California, began transmitting news, music, and banter from a local bank in 1909. By 1912, he and his students began offering regularly scheduled programming. Learn more.

[1] Susan Douglas.,Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, 156.
[2] Reginald Fessenden, Letter to Samuel M. Kinter, in Builder of Tomorrows by Helen Fessenden. 1940), 153-154.
[3] James E. O'Neal, "Fessenden: World's First Broadcaster?" Radio World, October 25, 2006.
[4] James E. O'Neal, "Fessenden—The Next Chapter" Radio World, December 23, 2008.

1908: First Political Recordings

Delivering speeches has long been a major part of American politics. With the introduction of recording devices, like Thomas Edison's phonograph, candidates had the opportunity to share their campaign messages with wider audiences. At first, actors read and recorded the flowery speeches of candidates. But, during the 1908 Presidential campaign, the two candidates, William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft, recorded twenty two campaign speeches on Edison National Phonograph Company wax cylinders (10 cylinders by Bryan; 12 by Taft). Both candidates also recorded speeches for the Victor Record Company and the Columbia Phonograph Company. Copies of these recordings were sold across the country (the first commercial recordings of political candidates) and frequently played at political gatherings, one after another, without either candidate being present at the simulated debate. The recording capacity of each Edison cylinder was two and a half minutes, so Bryan and Taft had to be precise with their statements. Intolerably long by today's standards, these speeches were the start of the movement toward "sound bites," routinely heard a few years later by audiences listening to the new technology, radio.

Bryan's speeches were recorded first, probably in May 1908, by Harold Vorhese, an Edison employee, in Bryan's Lincoln, Nebraska, home, and released in June. Taft's speeches were recorded in August. In this example, Bryan, the presumed Democratic candidate, and Taft, the presumed Republican candidate, speak to United States Imperialism in the Philippine Islands. Bryan speaks first, followed by Taft.

1909: First Broadcaster?

Charles David "Doc" Herrold founded Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering, in San Jose, California, in January 1909 for the purpose of experimenting with the transmission of voice and music using the wireless telephone. Until 1917, Herrold trained young people to send and receive Morse code so they could get jobs as wireless telegraphic operators.

In 1908, Herrold began experimenting with sending voice and music via radio waves. Inspired by the San Jose street lights, Herrold, by 1912, had invented and received patents for a radio telephone system to increase and utilize the high frequency waves created by arc lights for transmitting voice and music. Using the call letters "FN" and "SJN," or simply "Herrold Station," Herrold transmitted with his "arc phone" several hours every day, transmitting phonograph recordings and conversation from Herrold College to a San Francisco hotel fifty miles distant. These two-way radio telephone communication experiments were heard by hundreds of West Coast operators.

Beginning in 1912, every Wednesday evening at 8:00 PM, Herrold provided a scheduled and pre-announced broadcast called "Little Hams Program" consisting of music and information to an audience of homemade crystal radio enthusiasts. [1] Herrold's program quickly became popular and listeners would telephone with music requests. One reason for the program's popularity was the announcer, Herrold's young wife Sybil, who may have been the first woman to broadcast a radio program.

During the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, Herrold broadcasted daily entertainment from his San Jose station to receiving stations at the Palace of Fine Arts. Thousands of fair goers were able to listen to Herrold's day-long broadcasts, experiencing radio broadcasting of voice for the first time.

In 1917, Herrold's station was silenced by government order in connection with World War I. Radio inventors and operators were directed to apply their skills to the war effort. Herrold trained hundreds of radio operators. Herrold's station was silent until 12 April 1919. In 1920, the Department of Commerce began licensing radio stations. In 1921 Herrold's station, now built around vacuum tube technology, was licensed as KQW. Failing financially, Herrold lost KQW in 1925.

On 10 November 1945, actor Jack Webb (who went on to fame as Sgt. Joe Friday on the popular Dragnet radio and television series) portrayed Herrold for a one hour radio dramatization broadcast on KQW, "The Story of KQW." The only surviving recording of Herrold's voice was made for this program.

Herrold's radio station became became San Francisco's KCBS in 1949, and Herrold remains known as the first person to broadcast regularly scheduled entertainment programming. These efforts developed the first radio audience.

[1] The Xtal Set Society. Once upon a time folks interested in radio built and experimented with their own crystal radio sets. The Xtal (Crystal) Set Society maintains this webpage which seeks to provide information for those interested to return to those glorious days of yesteryear.

Charles Herrold. A tribute webpage devoted to highlights of Herrold's life as the first broadcaster.
Bay Area Radio Museum. A webpage devoted to "The Story of KQW" radio show, first broadcast on 10 February 1945. Includes an interesting article about Charles Herrold.
Broadcasting's Forgotten Father, the Charles Herrold Story. A 1995 PBS documentary written, produced, and directed by Mike Adams.

1920: First Radio Station

KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operated by engineer Frank Conrad (1874-1941), who had experimented with radio since 1912, became the first licensed radio station in the United States, 27 October 1920. Conrad began broadcasting music and sports scores from his barn-research lab at the Westinghouse Electric Company in East Pittsburgh, in the spring of 1920. On 2 November, from a shack on the roof of the Westinghouse Electric Company, KDKA delivered its first scheduled broadcast: returns for the 1920 Presidential election between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. Allegedly, the broadcast began at 6:00 PM and lasted until noon the following day. It was heard by about 1,000 listeners, as far away as Canada. Creating the broadcast were announcer Leo Rosenberg, engineer William Thomas, telephone line operator John Frazier, and standby R. S. McClelland. Listen to this recreation by Rosenberg, believed to be radio's first announcer.

Radio station KDKA could be heard "throughout the United States" at night (L. Coe. Wireless Radio: A Brief History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1996. 26).

1922: First Radio Broadcast Hoax

The first radio hoax was broadcast on 16 January 1926, on BBC [1]. The program, "Broadcasting from the Barricades," interrupted an apparent legitimate talk on 18th century British literature with a 12-minute series of news bulletins about a riot in London, with Big Ben blown up by mortars, the Savoy Hotel burnt down, and a politician lynched on a tramway post. The program was written by Father Ronald Knox, a Catholic priest. At the time, BBC was the only radio station and bad weather delayed the delivery of the next day's newspapers, making it easier for people to think the reports were real. [2]

[1] Holy terror: The first great radio hoax. Article explaining the radio hoax in detail. Also provides background information regarding Father Ronald Knox, and explores the question of whether Orson Welles used techniques pioneered by Knox in his adaptation of The War of the Worlds.
[2] A Priest and a panic. An article about the radio broadcast maintained by BBC.

1928: First Parody of Radio?

The first parody of radio may have been performed and recorded by The Happiness Boys, William "Billy" Reese Jones (1889-1940) and Thomas Ernest "Ernie" Hare (1881-1939). Often billed as "The Radio Twins," Jones and Hare started their radio careers on 18 October 1921, broadcasting on WJZ in Newark, New Jersey, sponsored by the Happiness Candy Stores, and hence their name. On 23 August 1923, Jones and Hare moved to radio station WEAF in New York, where they remained until 1929. For each show, Jones and Hare sang light or comic songs and engaged in humorous banter between. They specialized in comic songs that commented on trends or popular culture, and their "Twisting the Dials" was perhaps the first parody of the young radio medium. Recorded at two different sessions 31 October (Part 1) and 12 November (Part 2) 1928, and issued on both sides of Victor 35953, a 12" 78 rpm record, the mix of pre-recorded 78 rpm samples of ethnic, rural, opera, chamber, novelty, jazz and march music, comic announcements, chatter, and sound effects simulated the experience of tuning a radio to random stations.

Years before multi-track recordings, and using only one microphone, two vocalists, and some "samples," "Twisting the Dials" set a precedent for later comedic mixed media routines, like Bill Buchanan (1930-1996) and Richard Dorian "Dickie" Goodman's (1934-1989) 25 July 1956 hit "The Flying Saucer Parts I & II" which used samples from current hit songs to parody the 1938 "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast.

1936: Floyd Phillips Gibbons: First Radio News Reporter/Commentator?

One of the first, and fastest talking, radio news reporters / commentators was Floyd Phillips Gibbons (1887-1939) who came to national attention while reporting on the 1916 skirmishes between Francisco (Pancho) Villa and U.S. Army under the command of Brigadier General John J. Pershing, who led an invasion of Mexico to capture Villa. Gibbons' swashbuckling style conveyed the adventure he was having. He applied his rapid-fire, derring-do delivery to his 1929 series The Headline Hunter where he related dramatic war stories at 217 words a minute. Gibbons was the leading radio reporter until he was replaced by Lowell Thomas.

In this example, Gibbons reports on a March 1936 flood of New England's Connecticut River Valley. During two weeks, three consecutive downpours were among the largest and heaviest in U.S. history. Fifteen states in the northeastern U.S. were flooded. Despite, or even because of, his rapid delivery style, Gibbons' report provides an immersive narrative for the listener

Edward R. Murrow

While Gibbons may have been the first, many consider Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) the greatest radio news commentator of all time. Murrow is noted for his cogent point of view, deliberate speaking style, and strong visual images.

"Tonight, as on every other night, the rooftop watchers are peering out across the fantastic forest of London's chimney pots. The anti-aircraft gunners stand ready.

"I have been walking tonight—there is a full moon, and the dirty-gray buildings appear white. The stars, the empty windows, are hidden. It's a beautiful and lonesome city where men and women and children are trying to snatch a few hours sleep underground."

Born in North Carolina, raised in Washington, and a graduate from Washington State University, Murrow was in Europe at the start of World War II. CBS radio soon realized Murrow's personal reports could provide eye witness to unfolding events. One of his most poignant was a 24 August 1940 live report from London's Trafalgar Square during a German air raid.

His 15 April 1945 report after visiting the Buchenwald Concentration Camp is noted as one of radio's finest moments.

George Hicks

George Hicks' D-Day dispatch is considered one of the best recordings made during World War II. Hicks, the 38-year-old London bureau chief for the Blue Network, a predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), was aboard the communications ship USS Ancon as it stood off the French coast just before midnight, 6 June 1944. It was D-Day, the opening of the Allied amphibious invasion of Europe—the largest in history; codename Operation Overlord—seeking to drive out the German army. Hicks recorded on-the-scene what he saw of other ships in the convoy and fierce fighting against German airplanes using an early tape machine known as a Recordgraph. All that remains of his original dispatch is perhaps this 13-minute segment, which is both frightening and iconic as it conveys, in real time, the sounds of D-Day, one of the most important events of the 20th century.

1937: First "Live on Location" Radio Report: Hindenburg Explosion

On 6 May 1937, at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, following a sixty-hour transatlantic flight, the German dirigible LZ 129 Hindenburg crashed and burned just short of its mooring mast at the Lakehurst, New Jersey, Naval Air Station. At 811 feet in length, the Hindenburg was the largest dirigible ever built and the pride of the National Socialist (Nazi) government in Germany. Because the United States denied Germany access to helium, the Hindenburg was held aloft by highly-flammable hydrogen. When it caught fire approaching its mooring, the Hindenburg burned and crashed to the ground within seconds. Thirty-six people were killed.

The event was witnessed (eye and ear) by Herb Morrison (1905-1989), a reporter from WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Morrison and engineer Charle Nehlsen were experimenting with recording an event for later broadcast. The equipment they used, like a giant record player, used a stylus the cut grooves in a spinning 16-inch laquer disk. The big laquer disk was spinning and Morrison was calmly recording his commentary as the Hindenburg approached the mooring mast.

When the Hindenburg exploded, Morrison quickly lost his reporter's objectivity to subjective horror. Overwhelmed with emotion, he paused his reporting, returning later with additional information about the scene and survivors. Recording completed, Morrison and Nehlsen avoided German SS officers investigating the accident before returning to Chicago. Their recording was broadcast the next day, 7 May 1937 on WLS radio

At the time, radio network policy prohibited the use of recorded sound, save sound effects for radio dramas. This policy was based partially on the technical difficulty associated with live, on-the-scene reporting, but more so on concessions to the musicians' union to keep its members employed in radio stations. News broadcasts were often nothing more than dramatized aural documentaries of events, with any music supplied by live, in house orchestras. Radio producers felt dramatizing the events would convey the news more effectively.

Although Morrison's report was one of the few times recorded material was broadcast, and the first broadcast of recorded content on the National Broadcast Corporation national network, the recording had no effect on network policy. Recorded material was not allowed until World War II. Still, Morrison's recording was a prototype for the use of recordings in future news reporting.

For Morrison, the upshot was less than desirable. He was fired from WLS for his failure to maintain an objective composure while reporting the news. Additionally, the recorder ran slow, resulting in Morrison's voice sounding higher pitched than it was in real life.

Herbert Morrison, WLS Radio (Chicago) Address on Hindenburg Disaster American Rhetoric website.

1938: First Radio Broadcast To Confuse Audience en masse

The War of the Worlds, a radio drama adapted from the novel by H. G. Wells, is considered the most notorious, and famous, radio broadcast ever; a powerful narrative, based primarily on sound. Produced by and starring Orson Welles, along with the cast and crew of The Mercury Theatre on the Air, this broadcast created havoc on 30 October 1938, Halloween night, when many listeners thought Earth was invaded by Martians.

1948: First Broadcast Presidential Debate

The first debate between United States presidential hopefuls to be broadcast on radio was in 1948. Thomas Dewey, governor of New York, and Harold Stassen, former governor of Minnesota, both sought the Republican nomination to run against President Harry Truman. They met in Portland, Oregon, 17 May 1948, at the KEX radio station. Dewey and Stassen debated the question, "Should the Communist Party in the United States be outlawed?" Each candidate spoke for twenty minutes, then addressed rebuttal for eight minutes. No cross examination, no questions from reporters (more than fifty listened from behind a glass wall but were not allowed to ask questions). Stassen argued for the affirmative; Dewey the negative. There were no commercial interruptions. The debate was carried by three national radio networks to an estimated audience of forty million listeners. Dewey was considered the winner and went on to secure the Republication nomination. He lost the election, however, to Truman.

1977: First Sonic Time Capsule

Spacecraft Voyager 2 was launched 20 August 1977. Voyager 1 was launched on 5 September. Both spacecraft were to explore all the major planets of our solar system and then continue into interstellar space. Both carried a Golden Record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images portraying the diversity of life and culture on Earth. A committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University assembled 115 photographic scenes from Earth, greetings from the United Nations Secretary General, spoken greetings to the universe in fifty-five languages, spoken greetings from United Nations Representatives and whale greetings, a collage of sounds of Earth, and ninety minutes of musical selections from different cultures. These Golden Records represent a sonic time capsule, designed to provide a narrative about life on Earth to any civilizations who encounter the spacecraft. This could take some time, however. It will be forty thousand years before they approach another planetary system.

Listen to Carl Sagan explain the Voyager and Golden Record project.

Listen to "Greetings from Kurt Waldheim Secretary General, United Nations."

Fifty-five greetings from people's of Earth were included in the Golden Record. The selections are, in original sequence.
1). Sumerian
"May all be well."
2). Greek
"Greetings to you, whoever you are. We come in friendship to those who are friends."
3). Portuguese
"Peace and happiness to all."
4). Cantonese
"Hi. How are you? Wish you peace, health and happiness."
5). Akkadian
"May all be very well"
6). Russian
"Greetings! I Welcome You!"
7). Thai
"We in this world send you our good will"
8). Arabic
"Greetings to our friends in the stars. We wish that we will meet you someday."
9). Romanian
"Greetings to everybody."
10). French
"Hello everybody."
11). Burmese
"Are you well."
12). Hebrew
13). Spanish
"Hello and greetings to all."
14). Indonesian
"Good night ladies and gentlemen. Goodbye and see you next time."
15). Kechua (Quechua)
"Hello to everybody from this Earth, in Kechua language."
16). Punjabi
"Welcome home. It is a pleasure to receive you."
17). Hittite
18). Bengali
"Hello! Let there be peace everywhere."
19). Latin
"Greetings to you, whoever you are; we have good will towards you and bring peace across space."
20). Aramaic
21). Dutch
"Heartfelt greetings to everyone."
22). German
"Heartfelt greetings to all."
23). Urdu
"Peace on you. We the inhabitants of this earth send our greetings to you."
24). Vietnamese
"Sincerely send you our friendly greetings."
25). Turkish
"Dear Turkish-speaking friends, may the honors of the morning be upon your heads."
26). Japanese
"Hello? How are you?"
27). Hindi
"Greetings from the inhabitants of this world."
28). Welsh
"Good health to you now and forever."
29). Italian
"Many greetings and wishes."
30). Sinhalese
"Wish You a Long Life."
31). Nguni (Zulu)
"We greet you, great ones. We wish you longevity"
32). Sotho (Sesotho)
"We greet you, O great ones."
33). Wu
"Best wishes to you all."
34). Armenian
"To all those who exist in the universe, greetings."
35). Korean
"How are you?"
36). Polish
"Welcome, creatures from beyond the outer world."
37). Nepali
"Wishing you a peaceful future from the earthlings."
38). Mandarin Chinese
"Hope everyone's well. We are thinking about you all. Please come here to visit when you have time."
39). Ila (Zambia)
"We wish all of you well."
40). Swedish
"Greetings from a computer programmer in the little university town of Ithaca on the planet Earth"
41). Nyanja
"How are all you people of other planets?"
42). Gujarati
"Greetings from a human being of the Earth. Please contact."
43). Ukrainian
"We are sending greetings from our world, wishing you happiness, goodness, good health and many years."
44). Persian
"Hello to the residents of far skies."
45). Serbian
"We wish you everything good from our planet."
46). Oriya
"Greetings to the inhabitants of the universe from the third planet Earth of the star Sun."
47). Luganda (Ganda)
"Greetings to all peoples of the universe. God give you peace always."
48). Marathi
"Greetings. The people of the Earth send their good wishes."
49). Amoy (Min dialect)
"Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time."
50). Hungarian (Magyar)
"We are sending greetings in the Hungarian language to all peace-loving beings in the Universe."
51). Telugu
"Greetings. Best wishes from Telugu-speaking people."
52). Czech
"Dear Friends, we wish you the best."
53). Kannada (Kanarese)
"Greetings. On behalf of Kannada-speaking people, 'good wishes.'"
54). Rajasthani
"Hello to everyone. We are happy here and you be happy there."
55). English
"Hello from the children of planet Earth."

Listen to "Greetings to the Universe in 55 Different Languages."

Greetings from the United Nations Outer Space Committee representatives were included, intermixed with recordings of whales. The United Nations representatives greetings were arranged in the following sequence: Mohamed El-Zoeby (Eqypt; Arabic), Chaidir Anwar Sani (Indonesia; Indonesian), Bernadette Lefort (France; French), Syed Azmat Hassan (Pakistan; Punjabi), Peter Jankowitsch (Austria; German), Robert B. Edmonds (Canada; English), Wallace R. T. Macaulay (Nigeria; Efik), James F. Leonard (United States; English); Juan Carlos Valero (Chile; Spanish), Eric Duchene (Belgium; Flemish), Samuel Ramsay Nicol (Sierra Leone; English), Wallace R. T. Macaulay (Nigeria; English), Bahram Moghtaderi (Iran; Persian), Ralph Harry (Australia (Esperanto), Anders Thunboig (Sweden; Swedish). The intermixed whale sounds were recorded by Roger Payne and provide another greeting to the stars from another intelligent Earth species.

Listen to "Greetings from United Nations Outer Space Committee representatives / Whale Greetings."

Nineteen different sounds from Earth were included. The selections are, in original sequence.
1). Music of The Spheres
2). Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Thunder
3). Mud Pots
4). Wind, Rain and Surf
5). Crickets, Frogs
6). Birds, Hyena and Elephant
7). Chimpanzee
8). Wild Dog
9). Footsteps, Heartbeat and Laughter
10). Fire and Speech
11). The First Tools
12). Tame Dog
13). Herding Sheep, Blacksmith Shop, Sawing, Tractor and Riveter
14). Morse Code
15). Ships, Horse and Cart, Train, Tractor, Bus, Automobile, F-111 Flyby, Saturn 5 Lift-Off
16). Kiss
17). Mother and Child
18). Life Signs
19). Pulsar

Listen to "Sounds of Earth."

Finally, ninety minutes of music, twenty-seven different selections, arguably a creditable narrative to convey human emotion, was included in the Golden Record. The selections are, in original sequence.
1). Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor. 4:40
2). Java, court gamelan, "Kinds of Flowers," recorded by Robert Brown. 4:43
3). Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle. 2:08
4). Zaire, Pygmy girls' initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull. 0:56
5). Australia, Aborigine songs, "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird," recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes. 1:26
6). Mexico, "El Cascabel," performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México. 3:14
7). "Johnny B. Goode," written and performed by Chuck Berry. 2:38
8). New Guinea, men's house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan. 1:20
9). Japan, shakuhachi, "Tsuru No Sugomori" ("Crane's Nest,") performed by Goro Yamaguchi. 4:51
10). Bach, "Gavotte en rondeaux" from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin, performed by Arthur Grumiaux. 2:55
11). Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor. 2:55
12). Georgian S.S.R., chorus, "Tchakrulo," collected by Radio Moscow. 2:18
13). Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima. 0:52
14). "Melancholy Blues," performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven. 3:05
15). Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow. 2:30
16). Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor. 4:35
17). Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1. Glenn Gould, piano. 4:48
18). Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor. 7:20
19). Bulgaria, "Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin," sung by Valya Balkanska. 4:59
20). Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes. 0:57
21). Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, "The Fairie Round," performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. 1:17
22). Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service. 1:12
23). Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen. 0:38
24). China, ch'in, "Flowing Streams," performed by Kuan P'ing-hu. 7:37
25). India, raga, "Jaat Kahan Ho," sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar. 3:30
26). "Dark Was the Night," written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson. 3:15
27). Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet. 6:37

Listen to "Music from Earth."