Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Gramophone

After a few recent requests for these dusty yet fashionable players of music... well, I have found a brand new fascination and love to pour my hours of wasted Google and Pinterest time into...

The Gramophone.

And whilst researching these most beautiful musical boxes, I have been enjoying the very intriguing and extremely smile-inducing playlist provided by The Shellac Sisters, a group of four glamourous retro girlies who dress to impress and play music from the 1920's right through to the 1950's... They are Wind-Up Gramophone DJs and I can't help but log onto their site every time I want to get into a vintage mind set, I feel myself singing along at my desk even if not alone - You can listen to a select playlist to get a feel for what they could do for your event... however big or small it might be. 
They even provide dance lessons along to the music to really give you the vintage experience. I am in love with these ladies and I haven't even met them... yet!... Hopefully I will one day very soon. They have some dance moves to teach an Afternoon Tea Hostess with two left feet ; ) 

Not to bore you too much with history here... Hey, I got an E in GCSE History - I barely listened to a sentence of my nasty History Teacher at school, however NOW I get excited about the blinking past... Makes me wish I had paid a little more attention.. But never mind... I am slowly learning about the past through films, such as through my film idols, Mister Quentin Tarantino for example... Now WHAT a History Teacher he would have made!...  *Day Dreams for a moment or two*....

I digress. 

The Phonograph was in fact the original name for this device and it was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison, a man who certainly had competition out there (Don't we all ; ) but who was granted the patent on his design because his design was the first to replicate the recorded sound - His design was in fact made to record sound onto a tin foil sheet phonograph cylinder. 

Several changes were made in the 1880's by Alexander Graham Bell, including the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and a cutting stylus that moved from side to side in a zig zag pattern over the record. 
And then Emile Berliner initiated the transition from phonograph cylinders to gramophone records... the flat double-sided disc with a groove running from the edge in a spiral to the centre... This is what I now associate with Gramophones when they are mentioned, as would most people I presume. 

In fact there is an argument to be found on Edisons reasons for inventing the phonograph... It seems his purpose was to find a way to record dictation in the office environment (Boring!), however Berliner was keen to push the Gramophone forward for entertainment and record producing purposes (Hurrah!).

Even the Grammy Awards are named and refers back to the old faithful Gramophone. A fact that in the grand scheme of things really doesn't matter, but I had taken completely for granted. 

To be completely honest again, I think I need an entire year of being taught what music to look out for and add to a collection should I find myself a Gramophone for my own events. 
The Shellac Sisters have helped relax me with their selection, so I am sure there is a starting point for us all on their playlists... My favourite by far... a classic that has ALWAYS put a smile on my face (Even when Christina ruined it in *Burlesque* ahem...) is of course the gorgeous
Always a great starting point in my mind. 

Not only is the Gramophone a stroke of musical genius that kept households and parties entertained for years, but it has more recently been overtaken with such disgracefully technological advances such as the Cassette Player and most obviously the Compact Disc and now more Digital formats. I fear that the Gramophone is becoming a lost and forgotten treasure... 

So please, just take a moment, remove your hat (or your hairpiece ; )  and nod to my latest need and desire for The Secluded Tea Party.... The Gramophone. 

Miss Sue Flay