Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), a French army engineer, wrote the words and music to the “Marseillaise,” the national anthem of France, in the course of a single night in April 1792. He intended the song to be used as a marching song by the French Army as it entered the Rhineland, following the outbreak of war between France and Austria and Russia. This recording, made circa 1898-1900, is one of the earliest recordings made of the song. In 1893, Henri Lioret (1848-1938), a watchmaker by trade, developed a conical cylinder of celluloid (a less fragile material than the wax that was then commonly used for early recordings) mounted on a brass frame that was capable of recording sound. The first of these cylinders, known as “napkin rings,” were used almost exclusively in talking dolls, but Lioret later increased the size of the rings, which multiplied their uses for recording and replaying sound. In keeping with contemporary conventions, the recording is preceded by an announcement. The names of the musicians are not given. A cornet, a brass instrument particularly well suited to acoustic recording, accompanies the singer.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Henri Lioret


Title in Original Language

La Marseillaise


Type of Item

Physical Description

Sound recording on Lioret cylinder, 1 minute 24 seconds

Last updated: May 24, 2017