Groovin’ on the Glocken

Today’s Zippy has Zerbina totally in the groove:

A series of slangy panels, culminating in an air glockenspiel (a percussion counterpart of the air guitar, quite possibly a simulation of playing an electric glockenspiel). A glockenspiel gets into it because so many people think the word glockenspiel is silly.

The short story, from NOAD2:

a musical percussion instrument having a set of tuned metal pieces mounted in a frame and struck with small hammers.

ORIGIN early 19th cent. (denoting an organ stop imitating the sound of bells): from German Glockenspiel, literally ‘bell[s]-play.’

A somewhat longer version rom Wikipedia:

A glockenspiel … is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone’s bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel’s are metal plates or tubes, thus making it a metallophone. The glockenspiel, moreover, is usually smaller and higher in pitch.

… Two well-known classical pieces that uses the glockenspiel are Handel’s Saul and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, both of which originally used instruments constructed using bells rather than bars to produce their sound.

Musical instruments play a major role in Zauberflöte, beginning with Tamino’s Flöte, a flute, and Papageno’s Waldflöte, a little wooden flute (sometimes referred to in English as pipes or pan pipes) and continuing with Papageno’s Glockenspiel or Glöckchen ‘little bells’. From Act II Scene VIII, in which Papageno is lamenting that he is without his mate Papagena and the Three Boys advise him to play his magic bells to bring her to him:

Drei Knaben: So lasse deine Glöckchen klingen;
Dies wird dein Weibchen zu dir bringen.

Papageno: Ich Narr vergass der Zauberdinge!
Erklinge, Glockenspiel, erklinge!
Ich muss mein liebes Mädchen seh’n!
Klinget, Glöckchen, klinget!
Schafft mein Mädchen her!

It works, and Papageno and Papagena go on to sing a sweet duet.


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