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Life by Design


Hearing History

Posted by Carren |

Happy new year! This is a great time to celebrate firsts (successful ones at that).

This was my first try at a multimedia presentation and my group won first prize against a whole class of new Newhouse graduate students with it. It was one of those serendipitous things when you get a great group of people, a interesting subject, and a bit of time on our hands.
I had a ball taking the photos (basically stalking Robert Hodge), editing the audio together (after Adam and Erica finished going cutting through more 2 hours of raw audio).

Hearing History: Robert Hodge keeps old music and sound recordings alive.
By: Adam D'Arpino, Carren Jao, Erica Sanderson

The Belfer Audio Lab and Archive at Syracuse University holds over 22,000 audio recordings and only one man is preserving these for future generations. Robert Hodge has been an Audio Preservation Engineer for 20 years. Hodge digitalizes old record and cylinder recordings for an Internet catalog. There are a wide range of materials including spoken word, music and news recordings.

Hodge started collecting vintage recordings at 13 years old and now has about 20,000 records in his personal collection. Ever since he was a child, he always preferred the music from his parents’ era, the ‘10s and ‘20s, rather than the rock 'n’ roll from his own generation.

Hodge stays motivated through “eureka moments,” as he calls them, in which he discovers moments in the recordings he never knew existed before. But the job can get tedious. Hodge says the most difficult aspect is maintaining focus, especially after listening to hours of similar music in a day.

He views his job as important because the recordings are priceless and timeless. Co-worker Mary Laverty agrees, calling him of a MacGyver of music preservation. She said if someone like Hodge doesn’t preserve these pieces for the future, they will disappear. “These recordings are important because they are a part of the history of the world,” said Hodge.

See more stories like this on NHInteractive.


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