Musical Words


The monkey’s squeezebox is played by pressing keys on either side while squeezing the bellows, moving air past the reeds. This reed-based musical instrument’s name demands one take it in hand and operate it, not in the solitude of a parlor as with a small guitar, but in front of an appreciative crowd. Best would be a crowd that’s receptive to the concertina’s happy, bouncy notes that also (somehow) manage to sound wistful.


Flutes may be made of silver, gold, plastic, or wood. But no matter how plain or ornate, they’re always pretty. In a sideways manner, the word “flute” can incorporate everything about the sound of the instrument–particularly if you inhale sharply then spit the word out while prolonging it: A harsh, consonant fff, followed by a long vowel.


The uke is played by fingers gliding past (and clutching at) its soft, round strings–and its name is plucked from words that mean “flea” and “jump”. The word approximates the staccato sound of this small, irresistible instrument.

Neil Fein is a freelance editor who specializes in novels. If you’ve written a manuscript or are getting close to finishing, you can get in touch with him here, and even ask for a free sample edit. He also plays acoustic guitar in the band Baroque & Hungry. He writes music and lyrics as often as possible, which is not often enough to suit him.


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