Phonogramm Archiv of Berlin gathers collects 16000 wax rollers dating the first time of recording of the musics of the world.
According to the initiative of the psychologist Carl Stumpf, Berliner Phonogramm Archiv was established in 1900 to widen the psychoacoustiques researches on the extra-European musics. During more than 30 years, each of the expeditions leaving from Germany for scientific, commercial or diplomatic inquiries had to equip himself with a record player and its wax rollers to collect (and save) the sound demonstrations of worlds disappearing. Supervised by Erich M von Hornbostel, researcher’s small team gathered and analyzed rollers arriving to Berlin. Their works represent the foundations of the ethnomusicology.
The arrival of the Nazis to the power forced Hornbostel to emigrate and put a stop to the activity of the archive. At the end of the war, the collection of rollers fell in the hands of the Russians and sank into archives in Leningrad then in East Berlin until the fall of the wall. It is only since the 1990s when these documents become again accessible. Classified cultural heritage of the world by the UNESCO in 1999, the collection is the object of a restoration and a digitalisation for several years by the Berliner Phonogramm Archiv within the ethnological museum of Berlin.
Excerpts of the documentary made wtih Marcus Gammel for the DeutschlandRadioKultur :
Die chinesischen Schuhe : 4’34"
Anna Lindner : 2’21"