Here's W.C. Handy's 1914 song St. Louis Blues, performed by Handy at some point in the 20s, probably.
I should add that's a 341KB opus file at 16kbps.
The flac file it was derived from (found here: https://archive.org/details/78_st-louis-blues_w-c-handy_gbia0030859a/St.+Louis+Blues+-+W.+C.+Handy-restored.flac) is over 60MB.
I went from over 60MB to just over 1/3 of an MB.
And a close listen with some good headphones or speakers will reveal some minor differences on the compressed file, but holy shit it's 341KB.
Here's Kid Ory's Creole Trombone as a 413KB, 16Kbps opus file.
The "original" here is a pirated recording released in the early 20s of an impossibly rare jazz side from the first black jazz band from New Orleans to cut a record.
Piracy paved the way for preservation.
Now it's in the public domain, and I've compressed it down small enough that it fits more than one copy on a floppy disk.
I've made it small enough that it can be transmitted by basically any means.
It would take a little under 3 hours to transmit this over a standard hayes modem, or to store it in Kansas City Standard.
22 minutes to transfer at 2400 baud.
Faster than real time on standard 56k dial-up. (a little under 1 minute!)
Here's Kid Ory's Creole trombone: https://github.com/ajroach42/ajroach42.github.io/blob/master/images/Ory-Trombone.opus
And here's St. Louis Blues
Half a megabyte for 6 minutes of music.
You'll have to download them and play them locally, until I write a blog post that embeds a player, but they are what I said they were, and they sound find.
Both of these songs are in the public domain in the US.
The recording of Kid Ory's Creole Trombone is definitely in the public domain in the united states.
The recording of st louis blues may or may not be in the public domain in the united states. I'm having a hard time dating it.
Archive.org says its from the 40s, but that seems ... unlikely considering the shit quality of the recording compared to the standards of the 40s.
It's more likely that this is an earlier recording, sometime in the 20s, I'd imagine, but I can't find any evidence one way or the other.
Handy recorded this song a Lot, and figuring out which particular recording this is isn't trivial.
But, the song is public domain, and the recording is old enough (and compressed enough) that no one is going to give a shit about me sharing it.
There are public domain recording of that track, if that one isn't one.
I'll find one later that's less ambiguous. For now, I was just enjoying making small files.
@poiseunderchaos It is a really tight recording of a track that the band absolutely had to know Backwards. They were performing this *all the time* for more than a decade by the time this was recorded.
@ajroach42 that recording is 1925. Handy is from Florence and I’ve heard it a thousand times, and used to do lights and sound for a play about him yearly. Also been to his house where they have an original I believe
@ajroach42 This is impressive. Playing back on an old audio interface -- a fairly good one, but it's several years old and starting to crack and pop on occasion -- with budget pro headphones (same), sounds all but like listening to a 78 in a room, but with the the higher frequency noise and scratchiness mostly gone.
@ajroach42 The trombone player sure likes his schtick. I like it less. Remove that part and the song is really good.
@ajroach42 at those bitrates it might be guessing wrong which codec to use; you can set it straight by specifying --music on the opusenc command line, and it really does make a difference
$ ffmpeg -i 'St. Louis Blues - W. C. Handy-restored.flac' -ar 8000 handy-blues.wav
$ opusenc --bitrate 10 --music --downmix-mono handy-blues.wav handy-blues.opus
i think it sounds objectively quite good, and for 10kbps somewhat miraculous
@ajroach42 is there some way to download the opus files? all i can get via retro.social are transcodes into mp3 (which won't be helping any)
@ajroach42 i wonder what happens if you downsample the input to 8kHz? i ask, because downsampling the output to 8kHz disposes of almost all of the annoying noise, while retaining pretty much all of the music (thank goodness for the limited bandwidth of affordable 1920s recording technology!)
A social network for the 19A0s.