Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Chocolate Music

Music?  Yes, these days you can hear music anywhere and everywhere.  You can listen to music on AM and FM radio and on TV.  You can tune in to music on the internet and on your ipod and your kindle and your computer and your iphone.  You can listen to music on your mini earphone buds and via your huge home entertainment system. 

Yes, music is everywhere.  Not only are the hills alive with the sound of music, so is your house, your car and your work place.

 Before the recent explosion of the various forms of electronically preserved music, it was customary to listen to music from your cassette player, and before that it was the flat gramophone disc.  And before that it was via the old cylinder gramophone.  Well, and way before that the only way you could listen to music was to hear it live in your own home or in your church or in your nearby concert hall.

 The flat gramophone disc was developed by Emile Berliner in the United States in 1889.  The original gramophone recordings and playback equipment were little more than expensive children’s toys at the time, though subsequent developments provided a better quality of recorded music.

 In 1903, a joint collaboration between the Stollwerk Chocolate Company and Junghans in Germany produced a playable music recording made out of chocolate.  Junghans manufactured a small metal playback gramophone and Stollwerk produced a chocolate recording.  These early German made music novelties were sold in Germany and Belgium, and in France they were manufactured by Eureka.

 The player stood no more than 8½ inches tall including the horn, the turntable was just 3 inches in diameter, and the tiny point, made of glass, was easily broken.  This flimsy delicate set of equipment was little more than a plaything for children, particularly in view of the fact that the chocolate recording could be eaten when the music groove became worn.  The thick chocolate disc could be played for a dozen times before it would be declared eatable.

 During the following year (1904), a vastly improved and a slightly larger model made with brass parts rather than the original tin was marketed, though it was still only an interesting novelty.  The glass point was replaced by a sapphire point.  

 A century later, the production of chocolate music was revived again, by Peter Lardong in Berlin Germany, who claimed erroneously that his novelty was the first in the world.  Instead, Peter Lardong’s chocolate music is indeed the first in modern times.

 The Lardong chocolate recordings cost $6 each, and they also were durable for a dozen playings on a standard record player before they were added to the family menu.  A Japanese company showed an interest in the mass production of the Lardong chocolate music discs.

 That was in the year 2010.  During the following year, Ben Milne in Edinburgh produced a commercial version of a chocolate music recording that featured contemporary Scottish music.  Then during the next year again (2012), Ed Bangor Records in collaboration with the Gelencser chocolate factory in France produced 100 copies of a chocolate music recording.  Julia Drouhin in Tasmania made some chocolate music recordings in 2015, a project that she subsequently transferred to Spain.  

  We might add that other strange products have also been used to produce novelty music recordings, such as paper, cardboard, tortillas, glass, and even ice.

  Two years ago (2014), Fon Biskich at the Nadalina Chocolate shop in the city of Split in Croatia began making and selling his own chocolate music recordings.  These recordings are good for about five playing's. 
 (AWR/Wavescan NWS 410)