Online exhibition:


This online exhibition provides insights into the Phonogrammarchiv’s unique and manifold holdings chiefly from the areas of ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. The audio and video samples showcased are the result of over 100 years of worldwide field research. They range from the Historical Collections 1899–1950 (listed in the World Register of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” Programme) to audio-visual documents from the 21st century.

!Ai-khoë (Naro) speech sample; speaker: |Kχara

Recorded by Rudolf Pöch on 30/7/1908 in “Kχau (Kamelpan) , Britisch Betschuanaland Protektorat”; Ph 767

Between 1907 and 1909, Rudolf Pöch – controversial anthropologist, medical doctor and media pioneer – stayed with the indigenous population of the Kalahari in present-day Botswana and Namibia. Alongside film and photo documentation, also 67 Phonogramme were created in the course of this anthropological and ethnological expedition. They represent early audio recordings of polyphonic singing and Khoisan languages.

Excerpt from the protocol (transl. into English): ‘He [i.e. |Kχara] mentions that the Bushmen have to do so much for me (photography, measurements, phonographic recordings) and asks for a fire-box (lighter), apart from the tobacco.’

CD publication: Rudolf Pöch’s Kalahari Recordings (1908)


“Olutalo olwe Nsinsi”; musicians: Albert Sempeke, Ismael Obaloker, N.N.

Recorded by Gerhard Kubik in November 1967 in Kampala, Uganda; B 12508

Gerhard Kubik’s ethnomusicological recordings from various regions of Africa – created in the course of more than 50 years – are among the most significant holdings of the Phonogrammarchiv.

Already as a young man in Uganda, Kubik himself learnt to play the amadinda. This instrument is a 12-bar xylophone, played by three players at the same time.


Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830–1916)

Recorded by Fritz Hauser on 2/8/1903 in Ischl (Salzkammergut), Kaiservilla; Ph 3

In the course of an audience granted at the Kaiservilla in Ischl, Sigmund Exner – chairman of the Phonogrammarchivs-Kommission – along with the support of his engineer Fritz Hauser, succeeded in obtaining the longest of the three sound recordings of Emperor Franz Joseph (Ph 1–3). Apart from the last sentence, which was actually added ad hoc by the Emperor and can be heard here, the programmatic and visionary text essentially came from Exner himself. A week later, an illustration of this high-profile event appeared on the front page of the Oesterreichische Kronen-Zeitung.

CD publication: Stimmporträts
also published as Kaiser Franz Joseph, Stimmporträt 1903.

Es hat mich sehr gefreut, auf Wunsch der Akademie der Wissenschaften meine Stimme in den Apparat hineinzusprechen und dieselbe dadurch der Sammlung einzuverleiben.

It has given me great pleasure to speak, at the request of the Academy of Sciences, my voice into the machine and thereby incorporate it into the collection.


Early German dialect recording, Vienna 1901

Hunting episode; speaker: Paul Angelis

Recorded by Fritz Hauser on 19/2/1901 in the Phonogrammarchiv, Vienna; Ph 105

The collection of Austrian dialects has always represented one of the major activities of the Phonogrammarchiv – thus, as early as 1901, the oldest scientific recording of a German dialect was created. It is the description of a deer hunt, recited in dialogue form in the Central Bavarian dialect of Unterach in Upper Austria (Attergau).

CD publication: „Dazähl’n“ – 100 Jahre Dialektaufnahme in Österreich

- Kåå(d)l, auf wås hås-denn gschossn?
- Auv-ɐn Hiiɐsch hå(n)-i gschossn.
- Sakrɐment, håst-n laichd schå(n) wiidɐ gfaid?
- Na-naa, gfaid hå-i-n need! Då is-ɐ iwɐ-n Gråå(b)m umǝgschprungɐ, grååd dåå bai dɐ Graaniz. Und-I måɐ(n), i bin äɐm ɐ weng hint aufikemmɐ.

Transcription: Wilfried Schabus, 2003


Menthoko Festival (excerpts)

Recorded by Christian Huber in September 2002 in Kanam (Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh), India; V 337-343

The Menthoko Festival is celebrated in September in Kinnaur, in the Shumcho region. The video shows excerpts from the second day of festivities. There is music, dancing and singing in the Santang, the temple square. The dancers are festively decorated and clothed as they walk around the temple square counterclockwise according to the rules of traditional Kinnauri dancing. Similarly, the sedan chair (i.e. the body) of the Davla, the main deity of the village of Kanam, is carried counterclockwise around the building in the middle of the temple square. One can also see the appearance of two trance mediums, whose task includes the expulsion of evil spirits.



Conceived and edited: Christian Liebl, Katharina Thenius-Wilscher
Technical realisation: Johannes Spitzbart, Franz Pavuza, Michael Risnyovszky