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Grade Level Grades 6-12


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This lesson explores the invention of the microphone and its aftermath from several perspectives. Students will learn about Edison, Hughes and their methods, arriving at an understanding of how sound waves are converted into analog, electrical signals. Moreover, this lesson follows the improvement of the earliest microphone into both “ribbon” and “condenser” technologies, analyzing the methods these microphones use to capture sounds and how vocalists employed the new capabilities of these microphones to sing to large audiences with an intimacy that was previously inconceivable. Finally, this lesson explores the ways in which that heightened sense of personal connection with vocalists enabled the rise of a new kind of pop star.


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