In 1860 the Parisian typesetter and tinkerer, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville produced the earliest known recording of the human voice and the earliest known recording of music on his phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually but not to play them back.
"In 2008, The New York Times reported the discovery of a phonautogram from 9 April 1860. The announcement of the discovery was accompanied by an announcement that the visual recording was made playable — 'converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.' The phonautogram was one of Leon Scott's forgotten images in Paris; they were scanned then processed by a sophisticated computer program developed a few years earlier by the Library of Congress.
"The recording was a ten-second snippet of a singer, probably a daughter of the inventor performing the French folk song 'Au Clair de la Lune'. This phonautograph recording is now the earliest known recording of a human voice and the earliest known recording of music in existence, predating, by twenty-eight years, the longest surviving Edison phonographic recording of a Handel chorus, made in 1888" (Wikipedia article on Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, accessed 04-18-2009).