The gramophone, also known as a phonograph or record player, is a device use to reproduce sound from discs or cylinders.

A gramophone, also known as a phonograph or record player, is a device used to reproduce sound. In the UK, the gramophone was a trademark of the Gramophone company. In 1910, the term was deemed generic, which meant it was no longer a protected trademark. A gramophone consists of a turntable, needle, horn, and disc (or cylinder). The disc has a groove where the needle fits. Although the groove may look smooth, it actually has small backward and forward deviations. The needle is connected to a diaphragm, which is connected to a horn. The diaphragm creates the sound and the horn channels the sound so it can be heard.

The earliest version of the gramophone was invented by Thomas Edison in 1887. Edison created a machine that could both record and reproduce sound using cylinders covered in tin foil. Early recording devices were just gramophones in reverse. Sound collected in the horn made the needle vibrate, which would cause small deviations in wax. Emile Berliner patented a system for recording sounds on discs as opposed to cylinders. These were the first sound recordings that could be mass produced from a master record.

Berliner persuaded some famous musicians to record their music using his system, which increased the popularity of his system. His early discs could hold a maximum of 3 minutes of music and that is what influenced the length of pop songs today. Before his discs, music was only something that could be enjoyed live. Berliner allowed people to own the music for themselves.

After gramophone discs, magnetic tape was discovered to be a good way of recording sound. From the tape came digital recordings using CDs and the minidisc. Digital sound files can now be stored on any computer as an MP3 file. These sound files can be shared quickly and easily over the internet. Modern streaming services have made it even easier to listen to music without needing to own a copy of it. Vinyl records have recently had a resurgence with some DJs and music lovers. Modern day turntables now have digital outputs that can be connected to electronic amplifiers and computers, which can increase volume and further manipulate the sound.

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