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What's the Buzz?

24
Jun
2010
 

By Miranda

My tip for a word to enter the dictionaries not yet so updated is, surprise, surprise, the instrument of hearing loss and domination of the beautiful game, the vuvuzela.

For those who haven't been up late (or early, as your longitude takes you) watching the World Cup or those who have missed the constant references in the papers and on radio and television, the vuvuzela is a plastic pipe wind instrument which creates a buzzing, trumpet-like sound. Rather a lot of sound, actually.

There's been a fair amount of criticism of the vuvuzela on the grounds of Occupational Health and Safety - the noise levels it produces, en masse, are more than sufficient to cause hearing loss, and that's apart from its drowning out the supporters of rival teams, assuming such teams do not also have a vuvuzela section.

If the hearing-loss potential could be addressed, however, there may be some advantages to adoption of the vuvuzela. There's a whole nation of fans being trained in embouchure which may encourage their taking up instruments such as the French horn or trumpet. OK, whether that's an advantage or not depends on your view of brass generally.

And think of what they're drowning out. Even if you leave out the grossly offensive chants, you're still left with supporters belting out anthems based on songs from the Golden Age of Musicals and the peppier end of easy-listening from the 70s and 80s. Or Ricky Martin. Maybe there's a role for the vuvuzela at Eurovision... No, perhaps not. I have to admit I'm still moved by a stadium full of singing fans.

So for me the instrument's biggest advantage is its name. Vuvuzela is a lovely word, creating a buzz in the consonants which echoes the sound made by the instrument it's describing. Warm and fuzzy?

Miranda

 

10 Responses to

What's the Buzz?

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June 24, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Miranda, are you quite certain you have not made up this word? I have certainly never come across it. Also, how did it get made, if it is so new? Come to that, when did it get made?

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June 24, 2010 at 10:23 PM

The vuvuzela is sometimes called a 'lepatata' (its Setswana name) or a stadium horn. I've always turned the television off when soccer has been on because I find the usual chants grate on my nerves. Now I say bring back the chants, the 'buzzing' of the horns is worse. Warm and fuzzy, not!

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June 25, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Thanks Calypso, interesting.

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kragzy said:
June 25, 2010 at 3:37 PM

I'm trying to work out the cryptic clues (no doubt Miranda will put them into a crossword soon!). How about 'Pitching Zulu v Eva makes a terrible sound.' And for lepatata: 'Broken patela? Thanks for the horn.' I'll be watching for these...

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apozzi said:
June 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Have you folks Down Under heard about the incident at a Florida Marlins Baseball game last week. The Marlins had given the vuvuzellas out to fans as they cam into the stadium. Seems the horns were so loud that the umpires put in ear plugs. They failed to hear an important piece of information from one of the managers and, as a result, the Marlins lost the game. Needless to say, American Baseball fans are NOT fans of the buzzy, loud horns!

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kragzy said:
June 27, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Being an old bloke (and a cricket-lover) I can remember one season when plastic trumpets were sold at the SCG. It ruined the radio and tv broadcasts. The trumpets were banned the next summer and have never made a reappearance, thank goodness.

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rhve said:
June 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM

A bit like those people who scream so much at concerts that you can't hear the music they're screaming about.

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luddite said:
July 03, 2010 at 6:46 PM

As to encouraging the taking up of such instruments, I refer you to the Flanders & Swann song "Ill wind". Well worth the research if you have a sense of humour.

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lamby said:
July 03, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Love that song. "I once had a whim and I had to obey it to buy a french horn at a second-hand shop. I polished it up and I started to play it in spite of the neighbours who begged me to stop."

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Spliff said:
July 04, 2010 at 3:29 PM

This exerpt says it all!!!.... "The authenticity of the dreaded plastic horns--like the historical legitimacy of all such cults--is of course false. The vuvuzela has nothing to do with Africa's villages. Its history dates back, well, to the summer of 2009, when the Confederations Cup took place in South Africa itself. The horns turned up, and they were to alter the culture of the game. FIFA's leaders now pay tribute to a contrived tradition." BTW its not a warm & fuzzy buzz that the horn produces...Its a god awful drone as if being attacked by bees...