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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:17 pm 
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Victor II
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Thanks for the links. Though it is not battle sounds, BBC did a documentary on recorded British soldiers in ww1. I found it very interesting, so thought I would post it up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywg03b574oQ


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:44 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
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jboger wrote:
OK, you got me on the reverse doppler effect. How would it have been produced in 1918 for objects traveling through air? Air doesn't have the right physical properties to produce this effect. I know that it has been observed in more recent times but only for such exotic materials as known as metamaterials. These are not naturally occurring materials and were not available in 1918 and not for many years. If this record includes a recording of an object (missile) supposedly moving towards the listener but somehow the pitch is made artificially lower (longer wavelength), then that's not really the reverse doppler effect but an artifact of the recording process.

But I've been wrong before so if anyone would care to enlighten me, I'm all ears.


As a physicist, I long thought about what could produce that reverse-doppler effect sound. The only (very weak) thing I could come up with is that perhaps a steep variation in air density/humidity could produce unusual effects, and possibly a battlefield saturated with yprite and black powder exhausts fits the hypothesis. But, as said, I don't really believe it.

Period witnesses, in any case, said the shells had some type of wings that would produce a whistle. I would say, in turn, that I'm fine with the whistle per se; it's the increasing pitch that it's nonsense. It seems to me the sound of an object which is accelerating, while a projectile can do nothing else than decelerate once it leaves the cannon's mouth. Perhaps Katjuša rockets would produce a similar sound, but not a ballistic projectile.

I have to say that I completely ignore what kind of weaponry was used when the recording was made. In either case, however, there's something "suspicious" in the record. I don't think that self-propelling shells like Katjušas were available by the end of the Great War, but if that was the case, then the boombs and bangs of the cannons are artifacts. If the shells were shot with cannons, then the accelerating sound of the projectile is almost surely nonsense; moreover, the dB gap of the sound pressure between the boom of the cannons and the whistle and the voice orders would be many orders of magnitude. I doubt that even contemporary electronic equipment could deliver a decent recording of sounds of such different magnitude, go figure a primitive cylinder recorder, which had problems even capturing a piano and a tenor at the same time in a quiet room.

Summing it up, my educated opinion is that Mr. Gaisberg really did recordings of a gas shell bombardment, which are the less-than-impressive bangs, dings and crackles that can be heard on the background of the record. Then later, in order to "improve" the impact of the recording, while dubbing to disc other artificial sound effects were added with a bass drum and a whistle by people who saw a battlefield only in pictures, as well as by a self-appointed "commander" of the artillery unit.


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:09 am 
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Victor II
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If I may modestly offer my own work, I wrote an article pertinent to the subject a couple of years ago: https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/sounds_of_war_e.html

Please don't shoot the author! Or, if you do, make sure you have a good acoustic recording device on hand to capture the sounds of the event....

[PS: I, too, have mused over the reverse Doppler off an on, and one possibility did occur recently. Could it be an artifact of the recording equipment's being set up at some distance in front of the guns, so the shells would be approaching instead of flying away from the horn? Surely no sane recordist would do that, but then, the mere act of attempting acoustic recording on a battlefield is hardly the mark of sanity.]


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:25 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
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So you are the author of those articles! I read TNT in Italian quite casually but almost regularly; I remember they were introduced as a new line of articles on the 78rpm world, but after 2-3 publications I think no further "papers" were put online...

Coming to your last point: no, it's exactly the opposite. Had the recording being taken from the front of the battery, not only there would have been no reverse-Doppler effect, but actually the "standard" Doppler effect would have been enhanced.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:44 am 
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Victor III
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Marco Gilardetti wrote:
Coming to your last point: no, it's exactly the opposite. Had the recording being taken from the front of the battery, not only there would have been no reverse-Doppler effect, but actually the "standard" Doppler effect would have been enhanced.


The Doppler assumption is based on the source generating a fixed frequency. Could it be that the whistle embarked on the bomb changed its frequency with the air flow? in such case the variations in frequency generation could overcome any Doppler effects. As I am not at all a specialist in whistling bombs, this is purely speculation from my side.

Other aspects of the record pointed out in Mr Hoehl's well-written article point out to an artificially enhanced field recording, however, like the commander's voice and background sounds being captured by an acoustical recording.

Quite interesting discussion!

As a side note, I have a WWII propaganda record issued by the RAF with a bomber crew in the raid over Essen. This record was reported as genuine, and, despite the lack of spectacular blast sounds, what impresses me is the cool attitude of the commander reporting that the plane could have been hit and asking one of the crew members to confirm. No screams, no frantic orders, no panic. They made it back safely, as well as the recording, but certainly such composed behavior would not make a Hollywood script.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:48 am 
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Victor III
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CarlosV wrote:
The Doppler assumption is based on the source generating a fixed frequency. Could it be that the whistle embarked on the bomb changed its frequency with the air flow? in such case the variations in frequency generation could overcome any Doppler effects.

I would say no. As already pointed out, the air flow around a ballistic projectile is at its peak right after the launch, then it can't do anything else but slow down due to air resistance. I don't know any type of whistle or any other kind of sounding device which, the less air is blown, the higher the pitch. It actually contradicts the relation between the energy carried by a wave and its frequency (the higher the frequency, the higher the energy).

CarlosV wrote:
No screams, no frantic orders, no panic. They made it back safely, as well as the recording, but certainly such composed behavior would not make a Hollywood script.

I suppose this is what also came to mind to people at HMV. Even if we suppose that the booms and also the whistles are real, without anyone speaking or giving orders it would have made anyway a very flat record of un-understandable noises. So they thought to add a voice, in order to have the listener understand what was going on.

As a military on leave (and reenactor), I have to say that also these orders seem at least "unusual" in my experience. In general, I doubt that in the middle of a battery fire anyone could give vocal orders. Of the three men that fought WWII and that I knew better (my grandfather, his brother, and a common friend of them who was born in the same town) all came back from the front severely deaf and had to wear hearing aids for the rest of their lives. My uncle in particular, who was indeed an artillerist, came back completely deaf. Not much room for vocal orders, in my opinion.

But let's suppose instead that vocal orders were given to each and every single cannon. Since at least the XVIII century, and I think that this is true for all over the world, the exact timing of the fire order is given by the shouted word "FIRE!", not by a number or by anything else. A hypothetical order could then be: "battery number three... charge the piece... arm the trigger... FIRE!!!". In this record, the order wording is overturned: the commander says something like "fire number three". As a military, I would never, and I say NEVER by any means, pull the trigger after an order given in that way. Of course I may be wrong on this point as well as on all other points, but it seems to me that those orders are nonsense from a military point of view, and I hence suspect that they were invented and simulated by citizens who never were to the front.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:44 pm 
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Victor II
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Marco Gilardetti wrote:
So you are the author of those articles! I read TNT in Italian quite casually but almost regularly; I remember they were introduced as a new line of articles on the 78rpm world, but after 2-3 publications I think no further "papers" were put online...


Guilty as charged. Thanks for reading TNT! As to the number of articles, I've actually written a number of them on the English side, including a lengthy series on turntables for 78s, but I gather Lucio Cadeddu, our editor, has trouble finding others to translate them. If you'd be interested in translating from English into Italian, or even writing articles outright, for TNT, drop me a line (or better yet contact Lucio directly at editor@tnt-audio.com, and feel free to say I sent you). We always need more helping hands!


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Victor II
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CarlosV wrote:
As a side note, I have a WWII propaganda record issued by the RAF with a bomber crew in the raid over Essen. This record was reported as genuine, and, despite the lack of spectacular blast sounds, what impresses me is the cool attitude of the commander reporting that the plane could have been hit and asking one of the crew members to confirm. No screams, no frantic orders, no panic. They made it back safely, as well as the recording, but certainly such composed behavior would not make a Hollywood script.


Hmmm... Brand me a cynic/skeptic, but I wonder about that. In those days, as a practical matter the recording would have been on a disk master (the Germans had tape, but the Allies didn't until after the war), and I have my doubts (a) how a bulky disk recording mechanism and recording blank warming oven could have been fit into the cramped fuselage of a bomber and (b) how a disk cutter would have handled the rough ride to which flying in combat would have subjected it. Not saying it's not true--I have no idea--but just thinking practical considerations would have been formidable, and studio recreations certainly were easier to produce and pass off as "the real thing," just like the gas shell bombardment record.

Incidentally, I know of one other "recreation" from WW I, but it was not promoted as anything else--Victor issued a record called "A Submarine Attack." Anybody here heard it? If I have, it was so long ago I don't remember much about it other than its existence.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:08 pm 
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Victor V
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^ Wouldn't have needed a warming oven, acetate / lacquer recordings discs were in use by WWII.

Otherwise, it still seems unlikely that they could cut a disc master under those conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorded WW1 Sounds
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:27 pm 
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Victor II
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Wolfe wrote:
^ Wouldn't have needed a warming oven, acetate / lacquer recordings discs were in use by WWII.

Otherwise, it still seems unlikely that they could cut a disc master under those conditions.


For "instant"/"home" recording, certainly, but for commercial disk mastering? (Not doubting you, but if so I'm learning something!)


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