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16 words that have a totally different meaning to musicians

16 words that have a totally different meaning to musicians


To a musician: a little strip of bone, plastic or metal which keeps the individual strings of a stringed instrument correctly spaced.
To everyone else: a delicious, wholesome, healthy treat. Especially when smoke-roasted in a bucket of salt, corn flour & MSG.


To a musician: a handy bit of studio & stage kit that silences all signal noise below a certain threshold.
To everyone else: A cool little flappy out-side doorway that leads to somewhere you’re probably not supposed to be.


To a musician: the delicate harmony of waveforms that can reinforce sound, cancel out sound, and make funky swooshy-wooshy noises.
To everyone else: a passage of time in which you may do something. This chap, for example, is currently going through a phase of looking like a bad caricature of his own grandfather.


To a musician: The part of a stringed instrument that bridges the gap between the body of the instrument and the headstock, used to control pitch during playing.
To everyone else: That slinky, spudgy tube of flesh and bone that links your head-box to your body-bone.


To a musician: A system used to denote which particular notes you can and can’t use in a given piece of music.
To everyone else: the little twisty metal thing you use to lock the door of the stationery cupboard your friend was in at primary school and forgot to open again because you’re 5 and LEGO! Sorry Mrs Turpin. I locked Jason in the cupboard for a whole day 25 years ago. Better late than never.


To a musician: a musical note that has the time value of half a crotchet.
To everyone else: little twirly-whirls of vaguely cheese-flavoured bubbly potato-stuff that I desperately want to eat my own bodyweight in RIGHT NOW.


To a musician: A cool little system of magnets that convert vibrations into electrical signals, allowing instruments to be amplified.
To everyone else: A monstrously proportioned vehicular behemoth driven by people who rarely need to ‘pickup’ anything larger than a Sunday roast from Waitrose.


To a musician: a measure of time defined by a given number of beats, dividing music into sections which provide regular reference points within a piece of music.
To everyone else: that dingy place you go to drink yourself into oblivion. Where everybody knows your name. Well, not everybody. Just the creepy weirdos.


To a musician: a brand of industry-standard audio plug-ins used on pretty much every piece of popular music of the last 20 years.
To everyone else: the wind-whipped, froth-frenzy of the seven seas. Usually found gently sloshing about at the seaside and obliterating everyone and everything in terrible docudramas about the end of the world.


To a musician: a cable used to connect bits of audio equipment to each other.
To everyone else: a piece of material used to take dogs, ferrets and subs for walkies.


To a musician: a popular range of music production software.
To everyone else: a system of critical thinking, where reasoning is assessed according to defined principles of validity. Most admirably demonstrated by children arguing the case for staying up an extra 30 minutes to watch “I’m A Celebrity, Give Me A Lobotomy”.


To a musician: a lilting repetition of beats that gives an organic groove to performance.
To everyone else: a bit of old wood or discarded tyre attached by weathered rope or rusty chains to a creaking branch, which parents put their tiny, fragile children on and push them until they feel sick or fall off. Safe.


To a musician: The end of a particularly rousing movement.
To everyone else: The end of a particularly rousing movement.


To a musician: The extra bit of tube that allows microphone stands to change direction, allowing more free and detailed placement.
To everyone else: The noise that happens when stuff explodes. Or the thing you say when you want to give impact to a statement you made and thought was really clever. Boom.


To a musician: a re-circulating delay effect that causes resonant swooshy-wooshy noises.
To everyone else: a rim that adds strength and security to moving mechanical parts. Often heard from railway enthusiasts at busy stations: “Oh my, what a fabulously majestic flange that old steamer has!”


To everyone else: Gainful employment in which you trade your time, skills and expertise for money.
To a musician: Writing credits on a friend’s self-released album and occasionally busking on Wednesday afternoons.
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Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and our London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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