Sunday, September 25, 2011

Of Veenas (and guns)

Jya ghosha is ancient Sanskrit for the twang of the bow string. The crack of a rifle is the result of a sonic boom.

You can unstring many bows, stretch them along a neck attached to a gourd and make a veena. You can leave the bow strung, add a gourd, and you have a berimbau. Pick up another bow, draw it across a lute, and you are using a fiddlestick. You can place one end of a bow against your mouth and play the umgunga. What can you make from a gun? 

Scholars disagree over whether the bow's first use was as a musical instrument or as a weapon. They agree in the claim that the origins of the gun occurred with the discovery of gunpowder during alchemy's search for immortality.  

The more modern the civilization, the more actively it seeks immortality through the breaking of sound than through its flow.

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