Oldest Coptic Audio Recordings

Hello everyone,
Out of curiosity, I was wondering what the absolute OLDEST audio recordings of the Coptic church are? How can someone access these? Around 1960s is about the oldest I can find on the internet, although I know some recordings date back to almost 1930's! Any links would be lovely



  • Hi 10theeno! 

    Do i have a treat for you. The late Ragheb Moftah's entire library of recordings has been in the hands of the Library of Congress for some decades now, and they're all digitally available here: https://www.loc.gov/collections/coptic-orthodox-liturgical-chant/about-this-collection/. Some of them go as far back as the 1930's I believe, and feature the voice of the incredible Muallem Mikhail Girgis El-Batanouny. 

    Hope this helps!
  • So those are actually not the oldest recordings... There are some that are older with random recordings of hymns and liturgy parts for different priests, bishops, and cantors. I don't remember what was the label though. 
  • Hi guys, 
    I've been doing my research lately, and found out about Old Bohairic. It seems pretty authentic, and there are some obvious things that it's definitely right in such as the GB /v/ was the OB /w/ and such. Would anyone have any recordings in Old bohairic? 

  • I can't remember exactly where I read it (it was probably during the research for my master's thesis, which was about OB and GB as they are actually used in the liturgy), but from memory the oldest extant Coptic recordings were made sometime in the 1930s. Electrical recording did not debut until 1925, so it is highly likely that anything earlier than that time, if it exists or has ever existed, would be very close to unlistenable. I used to have a lot more 78 rpm records back when I could still play them, and the minority that I had from about 1908 to 1924 were always progressively worse-sounding the further back in time they went, and that was the case even with copies that looked basically new, because non-electrical recording was...well, let's just call it limited, in deference to how important many of those recordings still are. 


    Pictured: Frances Densmore records Blackfoot Mountain Chief in 1916. It was probably not easy to get good sound out of a big recording horn, even with only one person being recorded.
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