Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mucis* (for Music*)

Although we don't generally care to associate bodily fluids like mucus with the more ethereal experience of music, in point of fact they play a large role in the playing of both wind and brass instruments—which actually include something called the "spit valve." Iconic jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong and his famous embouchure would literally produce blood, sweat, and possibly even tears, while performing. The ubiquitous white handkerchief was used for dabbing drops of blood from Satchmo's stressed lower lip. Mucis* gets nine hits in OhioLINK today.

(Taken in 1953, this image comes from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and the New York World-Telegram and Sun.)

Carol Reid

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