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Bombasticity

£10.00£15.00

Bombasticity

£10.00£15.00

So Bombasticity it is. It is a feeble, trombone-like made up word, it doesn’t say Love and Peace, and it doesn’t mean what I thought it might have done even if it was a word! But it has the hook, and if I made it up, it means what I want it to: just a bit of a swashbuckle.

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Description

I dallied over the title of this piece for a long time.  I thought bombastic meant pure exuberance, flamboyance, and a big shout. But while all dictionary checks agreed, they came with the proviso that it was swank, overblown (!) loudmouthed-ness, Shakespeare’s

‘sound and fury signifying nothing’.  No composer wants to write a piece that ultimately means nothing, and to set out to write one rather stifled the whole process. But what else to call it?

I definitely wanted a loudmouthed piece, a proclamatory and joyful piece for the audience. Perhaps ‘bombast’ wasn’t the word I was thinking of? Bravado? Bravura? Then I started shoving together words that described what I wanted, as is the way nowadays, but ended up with ‘Flambulliance’, which is plainly ludicrous.

Then what about a more literal description of the piece? This led to its nearly-title of ‘Sortie and Reflection’.  That does the job.  The musical sortie bursts forth, develops, then there’s a contrasting section which is a reflection, a mirror of the final phrase of the sortie music.  And this could also be taken as some sort of anti-war statement: that in history people have sallied forth with spectacular offensives, only later to reflect and think ‘perhaps that wasn’t such a good idea’.  Yeah man, a statement. But while ‘Sortie and Reflection’ does do the job, and has the hippie salute too, it just hasn’t got the right punch for the title of the piece I was writing.

It was only when I was explaining this problem to my wife (another fun afternoon in the pub for her) that I thought ‘so what?’ if bombastic means s. and f. signifying nothing?  So what if it’s overblown or even pretentious by definition? It sounds as I want it to, and has the effect I want it to.  And actually, she thought bombastic meant all the same exuberant things that I had, without its connotation of transparency, and she’s a lot cleverer than I am.  Sod the OED.

So Bombasticity it is. It is a feeble, trombone-like made up word, it doesn’t say Love and Peace, and it doesn’t mean what I thought it might have done even if it was a word! But it has the hook, and if I made it up, it means what I want it to: just a bit of a swashbuckle.

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