Definition of barrel organ in English:

barrel organ


  • A small pipe organ played by turning a handle, which rotates a cylinder studded with pegs that open the valves to produce a preset tune, formerly much used by street musicians.

    • ‘Phil Webb, who has organised barrel organ street collections for the past 11 years, said: ‘People always seem happy to see us.’’
    • ‘A dozen barrel organs, synonymous with the Victorian period, will line the road as Macmillan fundraisers grind away to raise cash for the Swindon Cancer Appeal.’
    • ‘From heap to heap, using the Ligeti adaption of Musica ricercata for the barrel organ, the music supplied an aptly offbeat underpinning for the bizarre punishments performed in Dante's Inferno.’
    • ‘It is a stringed instrument, usually placed flat on the knee, and plucked somewhat like a guitar; it has been described as sounding something like a cross between a guitar and a barrel organ.’
    • ‘In this, another of his mechanical music pieces, the choreographer uses Ligeti's Musica Ricercata, transcribed from piano for barrel organ.’
    • ‘Dennis will entertain fans by smashing sour Chilean grapes on his forehead and peeing into the audience while simultaneously dancing to the relentless grinding pulsing hurdy-gurdy rhythm of Mr. Karl's barrel organ.’
    • ‘A barrel organ was in the street below playing ‘In the Sweet Bye and Bye,’ and one by one, the passengers took up the hymn.’
    • ‘A number of ‘Weeks cabinets’ with barrel organs and clock mechanisms are known, including one at Temple Newsam.’
    • ‘They also watched a Punch and Judy show and listened to a Victorian barrel organ.’
    • ‘That's a real barrel organ you hear in the background - ever slightly so out of tune that it grated on my nerves.’
    • ‘Twinkly lights festooned the rides and side-stalls, the smell of hot dogs, popcorn and candyfloss permeated the air and best of all, they had all the old rides with hurdy-gurdys and barrel organs!’
    • ‘There will also be morris dancing, a car boot sale, barrel organ and a further display by the Army.’
    • ‘Medalled and licensed to play his barrel organ for passers-by, he's a magnet for the slew of widows left behind by war and post-war flu, women who regard a slightly damaged man as broken-in and containable.’
    • ‘It was during one of these moments that I noticed a barrel organ pumping out German oompah - music.’
    • ‘In Holland, a council in the city of Rotterdam are keeping unruly youths off the streets by blaring out Christmas carols from a barrel organ.’
    • ‘The whimsical sounds of a dozen barrel organs raised £1, 200 at a street collection in Marlborough High Street.’
    • ‘An alternative was the barrel organ, usually a small chamber organ for which the church could buy a selection of pinned barrels with the most popular hymn tunes of the day ready set.’


barrel organ