The Journal of Ephemeral Inspiration

The Journal of Ephemeral Inspiration promises a neverending spew of pointless minutae, brilliant yet useless ideas, troublingly cruel commentary and emphatic musings on whatever shiny object happens to catch our collective eye. Always remember, hate the game, not the playa.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Soothing The Savage Breast: Instruments Of Regret

We're pretty sure it's breast. It's musicology time again, kids, and this time we have an excerpt from Instruments of Regret: A Brass Player's Compendium of Poor Judgement by Dr. Gurn Blanston, Professor of Music, The University of Northern South Dakota.

1859 Douglas Faceophone

"The family of Pvt. Wilcox was proud to learn in his most recent letter of his appointment to elite Corps de Musique, the brass quartet serving at the pleasure of Colonel Duvalier. He'd soon regret his enthusiastic correspondence once he realized he'd been assigned as Sgt. Rathmore's custom-fitted face mute."

1889 Schumacher Trump-ette

"'Even within the confined spaces of the 19th century battlefield trench, one cannot underestimate the morale-boosting impact of a full military marching band,' Austrian army bandleader Klaus Schumacher wrote in 1889 as he developed his line of closed ranks marching instruments, including the trump-ette, the clarin-ette, and the compact one-ba. All were officially rebuked as the position-revealing nature of an in-trench marching band became overwhelmingly obvious."

1904 Fenwick Confoundophone

"Turn of the century America saw the height of the small-town concert band craze and the rise of the virtuosic instrumentalist as celebrity. Much like the gunfighters of the Old West, Cal 'Lightning Thumb' Harrison was the valve-trombonist all the young 'boners wanted to best. To stay ahead of the pack, Harrison commissioned and mastered fantastic horns that challenged the skills of even the finest up-and-comer. Pictured below is the very instrument police confirmed was used to beat 'Lightning Thumb' to death."

1918 Boxleightner Cor Le Swish

"From an advertisement in the October issue of Blower's Gazette, 'Whether they're relaxing in the saloons of San Francisco or cheek-to-cheek in the dance halls of gay Paris, the singing tones of a Boxleightner thrust through like a beam of sunlight through the dull clouds. All the boys in the band will want to blow your horn when you blow a Boxleightner!'"

1933 Pfeffer "Ganglia"

"With America recovering from the stock market crash of 1929 and the rabble-rousing of World War II near a decade away, there were few bold enough to sound the trumpets and crash the cymbals of the brass bands of the turn of the century. Professor Angus Pfeffer sought to find the balance between the grand musical days of yesteryear and the respectful doldrums of modern times. His solution? The noise-canceling 'Ganglia' horn (in B-flat). Silence never sounded so joyous."

1946 Heitz Cornary

"Following his third myocardial infarction, soloist Reginald Heitz was struck with the idea of soothing his savage breast through the gentle tones of his Heitz Cornary. His 'musicavibrotherapy' idea quickly proved fruitless, offering little to counteract his high-calorie, low exercise lifestyle."

1963 Nerf Two-ba

"The world of collegiate marching bands raised a collective eyebrow when squishy toy manufacturer Nerf Inc. diversified into brass instruments. As best can be patched together from shredded corporate documents, the idea was the supplemental bell would be used for a synchronized launch of miniature foam footballs into the glee-packed bleachers. Unfortunately, control over the timing of each launch was virtually non-existent, often resulting in bruised necks and chipped teeth of the marching band's saxophone section. Few examples remain following a post-class action lawsuit recall."

1972 Clarke "Intruder" Blastophone

"'The look they won't expect; the sound they can't ignore.' Infrequently was a tagline more accurate."

Also in this series...