Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The "Bagpipes"

The history of the bagpipes is an interesting one.

They are thought to have originated in the middle east and imported to the Scotland by the Romans. Bagpipes are mentioned (though not by name) in the Bible and there are numerous carvings, paintings and sketches of bagpipes going back several centuries before Christ. While this is all interesting, I was carrying my pipes upstairs to practice and it suddenly hit me as to what a simple name they bear. They well could have been named by a preschooler.

Teacher: What would you call these Johnny?
Johnny (4 years old) points to the drones, chanter and blowpipe: What are those?
Teacher: Those are pipes.
Johnny points to the bag: What is that?
Teacher: That is a bag.
Johnny: I call it bag-pipes.
Teacher to Johnny's parents: Your boy is a genius!

Voila! So let it be said, so let it be written!

Try doing that with just about any other instrument:

Piano: Pee-an-o? If you told someone to draw that you can only imagine what it might look like.
Trumpet: Trum-pet? Sounds like an activity that would get you charged with a felony under animal cruelty laws.
Drum: I'd be temped to use it as an adjective to describe a plump, boring person. "Yeah, I've met that guy - he's a bit drum."

What genius dreamed up those names? Let's see, I have a wooden box with a neck on it and some strings that when plucked will make wonderful music. I'm going to call it ... a stringplucker! You'd have to be an idiot to call it a guitar! Gi-tar - something a dinosaur might become extinct in.

Obviously the Scots were very practical people. Why waste time dreaming up some odd name for something when what it is speaks for itself. Bagpipes - simple!

I wonder what the guy was thinking when he came up with Sax-o-phone?! HEY! Get your mind out of the gutter!

1 comment:

Rose said...

Sax-o-phone: Something phonic to annoy the Saxons with.