Barmy trumpet has place at Ashes battleground

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Thursday, 30 November 2006

Cricket officials should allow the Barmy Army trumpet to play its proper role at the Adelaide Ashes Test Match tomorrow (Friday 1 December) because the trumpet has a clearly defined place on the Ashes battleground, according to a University of Adelaide academic.

Associate Professor Mark Carroll, a musicologist from the University's Elder Conservatorium of Music, says the trumpet has cultural and historical significance.

"Music in general, and wind instruments in particular, have long accompanied life's rituals; birth, marriage, work, death, and so forth," Dr Carroll says.

"In calypso cricket the West Indian conch shell is used in a celebratory way, proclaiming the coming together of different nationalities in a great sporting contest.

"The Barmy Army's use of the trumpet, however, seems to trace its origins to the use of the trumpet in war, as a kind of rallying cry for the troops.

"To some, the raucous trumpet sounds that accompany the Barmy Army's tour of duty to the Antipodes during the current Ashes campaign are a mere irritation, but a deeper social and cultural significance can be attributed to the instrument," he says.

Dr Carroll says that among the earliest and possibly best known uses of the trumpet - or rather its ancient forbear, a ram's horn - appears in the Old Testament, when it was used to breach the walls of Jericho.

"Judging by the current performance of the English cricket team, a similar time might elapse before we see the Barmy Army trumpeter leading his foot soldiers onwards to victory! Nevertheless, officials should reconsider their decision to ban the trumpet during play."


Contact Details

Professor Mark Carroll
Elder Conservatorium of Music
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3672
Mobile: 0414 407 428

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762