Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Sort of Miniature Band

Peter F. Ostwald, The Semiotics of Human Sound (The Hague: Mouton, 1973), p. 28:
Among the internal organs of the body which make noises, the digestive tract is probably the most musical, a sort of miniature band. The mouth, a kind of trumpet, can hiss, blare and chomp. The esophagus, like a bassoon, produces gulps, burps, and belches, which, when properly timed, can produce considerable hilarity. The stomach, akin to a French horn, gurgles, growls, and groans. The intestines, resembling nothing so much as a glockenspiel, tinkle during peristalsis. The trombone-like colon zooms as it leisurely churns away at semisolid gruel. Now and then its noises, especially the sudden high-pitched beeps and bloops, embarrass the band director. Tuba-like 'brummps' indicate the deposit of feces in the rectum in anticipation of the final discharge to the accompaniment of a fanfare of noises.