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Listening to the Voice on the Page: Joshua Steele and Technologies of Recording

From: The Eighteenth Century
Volume 54, Number 2, Summer 2013
pp. 245-261 | 10.1353/ecy.2013.0012



Joshua Steele’s Essay Towards Establishing the Melody and Measure of Speech (1775) put forth a system for recording the voice in print that used a modified musical staff with additional markings to indicate emphasis and force. Steele’s method may have failed to become the established practice that he hoped it would, but his technology for recording has the potential to transform how scholars approach eighteenth-century practices of reading and listening.

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