mouth music

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Calque of the Scottish Gaelic puirt a' bhèil (tunes of the mouth).


mouth music (uncountable)

  1. The vocal imitation of instrumental music.
    • 1877, Alexander Carmichael (translator); Angus Macleod (speaker), “The Reciters' Lament, and Their Story”, in W.Y. Evans-Wentz, editor, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries[1], →ISBN, page 115:
      She herself or one of the other crofter women of the townland would sing to us the mouth music.
    • 1996, George Odam; Joan Arnold, Alison Ley, Sounds of Music (Teacher's Book)[2], →ISBN, page 61:
      Mouth music’ evolved in those parts of the country where poor people had no instruments but still wanted to dance.
    • 2002, Charles Keil & Angeliki V. Keil, “Foreword”, in Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives & the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia[3], →ISBN, page xxiii:
      Listening to flamenco, or to English Gypsy or Russian Gypsy folk song, or to the “babba-deep-babbaa-doop” mouth music of the Hungarian Roma, one would be hard put to identify a commonality.

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