The phonograph worked by translating the air vibrations created by the human voice into minute indentations on a sheet of tinfoil placed over a metallic cylinder, and the machine could then reproduce the sounds which had caused the indentations. The record wore out after a few reproductions, however, and Edison was too busy to develop his idea further until later. Other did.
Phonograph machines were invented under a variety of different names, however, all reproduced with wonderful fidelity the human voice, in speech or song, and the tones of either a single instrument or a whole orchestra. Through these machines, good music was brought to those who could hear it in no other way.