Thematic Playlists

Don't know what to look for? Tired of searching and clicking on links? Let our expert curators guide your way through the repertoire on early cylinder recordings with thematic playlists. Playlists are added on an irregular basis, featuring a preselected grouping of recordings unified around a theme. All programs are available as downloadable podcasts.

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Mexican Cylinders: Of National Identity and Sound Recordings New

  • A playlist of early cylinder recordings from Mexico.

Early Hillbilly & Old Time Music New

  • Country music on Edison cylinders from the 1920s.

Central European Mix Tape New

  • Music from Central Europe before the World Wars.

Tahitian Field Recordings New

  • A group of unusual custom Blue Amberol cylinders recorded in Tahiti.

Squeezebox: The Accordion on Cylinders

  • The first installment of a two part series exploring the accordion and other free reed instruments recorded on early cylinders.

Recorded Incunabula, Part 2

  • The second installment of the incunabula series, featuring more rare recordings from the collection of John Levin.

Operatic Cylinders from the Getty Collection

  • Rare operatic cylinders from the collection of Gordon Getty.

Recorded Incunabula 1891–1898

  • A program featuring some of the rarest, earliest, and most fascinating recordings you are ever likely to encounter, curated by collector John Levin.

Popular Songs of World War I

  • In commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I, listen to a selection of songs from the Great War.

Advance List for December, 1908

  • Listen to the new releases from Edison's "Advance List" of December, 1908 new releases. Curated by Patrick Feaster, Indiana University.

Cakewalks and Rags

  • The syncopated rhythms of cakewalks and rags presented here have had a lasting impact on American popular music. Curated by David Seubert, UC Santa Barbara

Deutsche komische Zylinder (German Comic Cylinders)

  • German comic skits on Edison cylinders from between 1904 and 1909. Curated by Ursula Clarke and Noah Pollaczek, UC Santa Barbara.

American Vaudeville

  • Transport yourself back to the turn of the 20th century with a program featuring the top stars of vaudeville—and the performers that should have been. Curated by Samuel Brylawski, UC Santa Barbara, Editor, Discography of American Historical Recordings.

Early Black Artists and Composers

Operatic Cylinders from the William R. Moran collection

  • Listen to operatic arias recorded on some of the rarest cylinders made, including Edison B series and French and German operatic cylinders. Curated by David Seubert, UC Santa Barbara.

Pioneers of Audio Theater

  • Some of the most creative early recordings had a narrative element and are now known as "audio theater." This program presents 20 of the most interesting examples from the collection. Curated by Patrick Feaster, Indiana University.

Historical Speeches on Edison Cylinders

  • Early historical speeches and recordings by Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Ernest Shackleton, Sarah Bernhardt, William Howard Taft and others. Curated by David Seubert, UC Santa Barbara.