Cylinder recordings, the first commercially produced sound recordings, are a snapshot of musical and popular culture in the decades around the turn of the 20th century. They have long held the fascination of collectors and have presented challenges for playback and preservation by archives and collectors alike.
With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the UCSB Libraries have created a digital collection of over 8,000 cylinder recordings held by the Department of Special Collections. In an effort to bring these recordings to a wider audience, they can be freely downloaded or streamed online.
On this site you will have the opportunity to find out more about the cylinder format, listen to thousands of musical and spoken selections from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and discover a little-known era of recorded sound. If you know what you are looking for click the search button to begin, or you can browse by genre or sample some of our favorite selections in the featured cylinder section or by listening to online streaming radio.
An initiative of the UC Santa Barbara Library • (805) 893-5444 • Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010. Direct questions or comments about the project or this page to the project staff or visit the help pages.
Faust. - Alessandro Bonci. (Edison Royal Purple Amberol: 29003), .
Listen to a podcast or live stream of a recreation of a typical American vaudeville show on Cylinder Radio
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