[78-L] Playing reels backwards - separating myth from fact

David Lennick dlennick at sympatico.ca.invalid
Mon Feb 8 06:58:10 PST 2016

Our first recorder was a big full track machine so this was literally child's play! 


> To: 78-l at klickitat.78online.com
> Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2016 08:20:47 -0600
> From: jsalerno at collector.org.invalid
> Subject: Re: [78-L] Playing reels backwards - separating myth from fact
> I did something similar but with my first open reel toy machine. My 
> sister and  both got one for Christmas one year. I could play a tape 
> backwards easily enough without having to open a cassette shell. For the 
> good old days.....
> I started with simple words, like "cat" because of the hard consonants 
> at the head and the foot. After I learned it backwards I would record it 
> and reverse the tape, thus re-reversing it. I noticed the difference in 
> the attack altho the word made sense enuff.
> Then I would record 78s and listen to them backwards, and every once in 
> a while there would be a fragment of a melody that sounded melodious 
> backwards as well as forwards. There was a little fragment from the 
> Tchaikovsky Concerto #1 like that, about 5 notes long. F-F-Gb-F-Ab IIRC. 
> Then one day I Was listening to the radio and heard those 5 notes within 
> the context of some song! So now I wonder if industrial composers used 
> that kind of reverse technique for inspiration.
> Joe Salerno
> On 2/8/2016 2:23 AM, Iñigo Cubillo wrote:
> >
> > Talking about that, it reminds the old experiments I used to do with my old
> > cassette player when child... I even got my father involved in the issue...
> >
> > Reassembling cassette tapes upside-down I managed to play them in reverse,
> > by the opposite face, of course, with the unavoidable lack of treble,
> > but... anyway it worked. I had lots of laugh listening to my favorites
> > backwards... Of course, I used to do that with 78s too, moving the
> > turntable with the finger. One of my favorites was Bing Crosby's "Amor
> > Amor", which in reverse mode was a quiet strange song ending in a sort of
> > Bing's braying "Romaaa... Romaaaa... Romaaa...". Very nice. But that's
> > another story.
> >
> > The true thing with the reversed tapes arrived when I started to record
> > backwards, then reassemble the tape in direct mode to hear the results...
> > Nice...!
> >
> > The next idea was to read a text backwards (strange business in which I
> > really got thoroughly trained) while recording backwards, then reverse the
> > tape and listen to the results... Heavy uncontrolled laughing here...!
> >
> > And there I got my father involved... helping me to read poems backwards,
> > one chorus each one, in turn... Bursts into laughter were unavoidable while
> > reading backwards, which in reverse (direct mode) sounded like barking
> > dogs... No need to say that, apart from the strange voices and
> > vocalization, we sounded slow and clumsy... And when you made a mistake,
> > then corrected it... the result was that you say it well first, then
> > correct it to wrong...!
> >
> > ...
> >
> > I've played this too with my children, few years ago. We used the old
> > Windows Sound Recorder that allowed reversing the WAV soundfiles, etc. They
> > were amazed and we had a great time singing songs in reverse, which we
> > learnt by heart. If you read it is easier... but if you learn by heart and
> > then repeat from memory, mistakes are more frequent, which is much more
> > funny. Imagine the difficulty tryin'g to learn a song in reverse, melody
> > included...
> >
> > Inigo, from Madrid, SPAIN
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